When red blood cells (RBCs) are present in urine this is called hematuria. Hematuria may either be microscopic or gross hematuria. In microscopic hematuria, microscopic examination of urine reveals the presence of high number of RBCs even if it appears normal to the naked eye.
Gross hematuria can be seen with the naked eye. The urine appears to be reddish or pinkish in color and sometimes the color of cola.
What causes hematuria?
Diseases affecting the kidneys, urinary bladder or other parts of the urinary tract may cause hematuria. Having kidneys stones may also cause hematuria. Other causes include tumors, trauma to any of the urinary organs, and kidney disease. Performing strenuous exercises may also cause hematuria but this is not often serious, as it usually goes away within 24 hours. Certain drugs, beets, or other foods may also cause discoloration of the urine that may mimic hematuria.
You should consult your doctor if you have hematuria since this may be the result of a tumor or kidney disease.
Hematuria is not a disease itself but rather it may be a sign of an underlying disorder. Your physician may order a series of tests to find the cause or rule out certain causes. Tests may include urinalysis, imaging studies of the kidneys, blood tests, and cystoscopic examination.
Urinalysis is the examination of urine for various cells and chemicals. In addition to finding RBCs, the doctor may find white blood cells that signal a urinary tract infection or casts, which are groups of cells molded together in the shape of the kidneys' tiny filtering tubes, that signal kidney disease. Excessive protein in the urine also signals kidney disease. When urine sample is taken, it should not be contaminated with blood from menstruation in females.Treatment of hematuria
Blood tests may reveal kidney disease if the blood contains high levels of wastes that the kidneys are supposed to remove.
Kidney imaging studies include ultrasound, computerized tomography (CT) scan, or intravenous pyelogram (IVP). An IVP is an x ray of the urinary tract. Imaging studies may reveal a tumor, a kidney or bladder stone, an enlarged prostate, or other blockage to the normal flow of urine.
A cystoscope can be used to take pictures of the inside of the bladder. It has a tiny camera at the end of a thin tube, which is inserted through the urethra. A cystoscope may provide a better view of a tumor or bladder stone than can be seen in an IVP.
Treatment depends on the cause of hematuria. If it is caused by a urinary tract infection, your doctor may prescribe antibiotics. No treatment is needed if there is no serious condition causing it. However, it is still important to see your healthcare provider to find out if it is being caused by another urinary tract problem.
For more information about hematuria, visit the Blood in the Urine (Hematuria) Page of the Kidney Health Care (KHC) website. They also provide information about other kidney diseases and urinary tract disorders.
Reference: National Kidney and Urologic Diseases Information Clearinghouse (NKUDIC)(February, 2007). Hematuria (Blood in the Urine)- NIH Publication No. 07–4559. Retrieved January 20, 2008, from NKUDIC, National Institute of Diabetes and Digestive and Kidney Diseases, National Institutes of Health. Web Site: http://kidney.niddk.nih.gov/kudiseases/pubs/hematuria/index.htm
Page Last Revised: July 7, 2010