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Blood in the Urine

The presence of blood in your urine, no matter how little, can be a frightening experience. More often than not it is nothing life threatening. For some people, even a mere intense exercise session is enough to cause hematuria (presence of blood in the urine). However such symptoms must not be ignored as they could indicate more serious health conditions that only a health professional should assess.

What is blood in urine?

Refers to the presence of red blood cells in urine (also known as frank or gross hematuria). It’s usually enough to change the color of water in a toilet bowl although it can also be invisibly to the naked eye (microscopic hematuria). Hematuria is diagnosed during screening sessions or urinalysis.

Hematuria sources:

1.Upper urinary tract: because of problems related to the kidneys.

2.Lower urinary tract: because of problems associated to the ureters, the bladder and or the urethra.

Symptoms related to urinary tract infections that may indicate Hematuria:

  • Weight loss for unknown reasons (mostly in chronic infections).
  • Pain or burning feeling when passing urine.
  • Urinating many times, at times meager amounts.
  • Constitutional symptoms (affecting various systems of the body) such as episodes of feeling cold and feeling hot (chills and rigors), body hotness, abdominal pains, ache in the flanks and back.
  • Difficulty in passing urine or urine initiation.
  • Blood clots in urine.
  • Painful sexual relations.
  • Heavy menstrual bleeding (menorrhagia).
  • Urine leaks or occasional dribbling.
  • Waking up many times to urinate at night.

Specific causes of Hematuria related to the urinary tract:

  • Renal stones.
  • Urinary tract infections.
  • Cystitis (infection or inflammation of the bladder).
  • Inflammatory conditions of the urethra.
  • Inflammatory conditions and infections of the kidneys (glomerulonephritis).
  • Cancerous conditions of the kidneys, the bladder and or the prostate.
  • Trauma to the urinary tract.
  • Surgical or other medical related procedures of the urinary tract including catheterization and circumcision.
  • Polycystic disease of the kidneys.
  • Prostate hypertrophy.
  • Kidney failure (end-stage and acute).
  • Glomerulonephritis that follow streptococcal infections in children.
  • Medications such as rifampicin, aspirin, warfarin, quinine and phenytoin sodium.

Blood disorders that can lead to blood in urine:

  • Blood clotting disorders such as hemophilia.
  • Sickle cell disease.
  • Kidney thrombi.
  • Low platelet count.
  • Leukemia (blood cancer)

What to do when Hematuria is discovered:

Check with a doctor immediately. Hematuria is usually painless with no other symptoms. A thorough investigation should be performed to determine an early diagnosis and treatment. If a urinary tract infection is already present, avoid bladder irritants such as tea, coffee, cola drinks and citrus fruit juices.

Confirming the causes of Hematuria:

A number of tests can help establish the root cause(s):

  • Urine analysis including culture and sensitivity tests.
  • Blood tests.
  • Imaging investigations such as IVP (intravenous pyelogram), X-ray, CT (computerized tomography) and even MRI (magnetic resonance imaging).
  • Cystoscopy.

Other research targeting surrounding tissues so as to rule out other underlying health disorders.