Blood In Urine

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Introduction

What is blood in urine?

Blood in the urine is called hematuria. Blood may color the urine various shades of pink, red and brown. Streaks of blood may also appear in the urine. Visible blood in the urine is called gross hematuria. Blood in the urine may be present in such small quantities that it is not visible by the naked eye, but red blood cells in the urine can be seen with a microscope. This is called microscopic hematuria. The amount of blood in the urine does not always correlate with the seriousness of the disease, disorder or condition.

Blood in the urine is often caused by infection, inflammation, or injury of the urinary tract (kidneys, ureters, bladder and urethra). In adults over 35, new-onset hematuria heralds a significant risk of undetected cancer.

In some cases, abnormal urine color can be mistaken for blood. In women, blood from the vagina can be mistaken for blood in the urine. In men, prostate problems can lead to blood in the semen, which can also be mistaken for blood in the urine. In addition, certain laxatives and foods can cause the urine to change color. If you can’t attribute the change in color to a medication or something in your diet, abnormal urine color should be evaluated in a medical setting. Blood in the urine can occur in all age groups and populations, and it may or may not occur with additional symptoms.


Symptoms

What other symptoms might occur with blood in urine?

Blood in the urine may be accompanied by other symptoms, depending on the underlying disease, disorder or condition:

Serious symptoms that might indicate a life-threatening condition:

In some cases, blood in the urine can occur with other symptoms that might indicate a serious or life-threatening condition that should be immediately evaluated in an emergency setting. Seek immediate medical care (call 911) if you, or someone you are with, are exhibiting any of these life-threatening symptoms:

Causes

What causes blood in urine?

Blood in the urine is often caused by problems with the organs along the urinary tract (kidneys, ureters, bladder and urethra) and the prostate gland. However, your doctor may suspect a bleeding disorder if a problem involving these organs is not found.

Urinary tract causes of blood in urine:

Causes of blood in urine related to the urinary tract include:

  • Urinary tract injury

Other causes of blood in urine:

Blood in urine can be caused by medications and conditions including:

  • Tuberculosis of the kidney

  • Von Willebrand’s disease (a hereditary bleeding disorder)

Serious or life-threatening causes of blood in urine:

In some cases, blood in urine may accompany a serious or life-threatening condition, including:

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Medical Reviewer: William C. Lloyd III, MD, FACS
Last Review Date: 2018 Dec 26
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