Blood In Urine / Haematuria
Haematuria is when there is red blood cells present in the urine. If there’s enough red blood cells, the urine may turn bright red, pink or cola colored. However, the urine often appears completely normal as there’s not enough blood to cause a color change. In such cases, the condition is called “microscopic” haematuria.
In many instances, they are benign. In other instances, blood in urine (haematuria) may indicate a serious disorder.
Visible blood is known as gross haematuria. Blood that’s visible only under a microscope is known as microscopic haematuria and is only detected when your doctor tests your urine. Either way, it’s essential to determine the cause of bleeding as teatment depends on the underlying cause.
There are many possible causes of haematuria. They including:
- Urinary tract infection: Caused by an infection in part of the urinary tract. Most commonly the bladder (cystitis) or the kidney (pyelonephritis).
- Kidney stones
- Tumors: Found in the kidney or bladder
- Exercise: Haematuria caused by strenuous exercise is a harmless condition that produces blood in the urine after. It is more common in males than females.
- Trauma: Traumatic injury to part of the urinary tract – from the kidneys to the urethral opening can cause hematuria.
- Drugs: Medications such as blood thinners may cause haematuria, they include:
- Warfarin (Coumadin)
- Aspirin-type medications
- Sulfa-containing drugs
- Cyclophosphamide (Cytoxan)
- Glomerulonephritis: A family of illnesses that are characterized by inflammation of the glomeruli (filtering units of the kidneys). This is a rare complication of certain viral and bacterial infections (including strep throat). People with certain auto-immune diseases, systemic lupus erythematosus (lupus or SLE) and vasculitis may also develop this condition. Other times, there is no identifiable cause.
- Bleeding disorders: Conditions such as hemophilia and von Willebrand’s disease.
SYMPTOMS OF BLOOD IN URINE / HAEMATURIA
The visible sign of haematuria is when the urine appears:
Haematuria on it’s own rarely causes symptoms. An exception is when the bladder has so much blood that clots start to form and the flow of urine becomes blocked. This will cause pain at the site of the blockage in the lower pelvis.
TREATMENT OPTIONS AVAILABLE FOR BLOOD IN URINE / HAEMATURIA
There is no specific treatment for haematuria. Your doctor will instead focus on treating the underlying condition. This may include:
- Taking antibiotics to clear a urinary tract infection
- Trying a prescription medication to shrink an enlarged prostate
- Shock wave therapy to break up bladder or kidney stones
DIAGNOSING BLOOD IN URINE / HAEMATURIA
- Physical exam: A discussion of your medical history.
- Urine tests: You’re likely to have another test to see if your urine still contains red blood cells even if your bleeding was first discovered through urine testing. This test can also check for UTIs or the presence of minerals that cause kidney stones.
- Imaging tests: An imaging test is often required to find the cause of haematuria.
- Computerized tomography (CT) scan: This sues radiation and a powerful computer to create cross-sectional images of the inside of the body.
- Magnetic resonance imaging (MRI): Magnetic field and radio waves are used to produce images. An ultrasound uses a combination of high-frequency sound waves and computer processing to produce images of your kidneys and bladder.
- Cystoscopy: Your doctor threads a narrow tube fitted with a tiny camera into your bladder in this procedure to examine both the bladder and urethra for signs of infection.
- Prevention: Haematuria related to strenuous exercise can be prevented by switching to a less-intense exercise program.
In general, other forms of haematuria can be prevented by following a lifestyle that fosters a healthy urinary tract:
- Keeping your body hydrated. Drink up to 8 glasses of fluid daily (more during hot days)
- Avoid smoking cigarettes (which are linked to urinary tract cancers)