What is Hematuria?
Let’s face it: Most of us don’t put much thought into our urine before we flush it down the toilet. Quite simply put, urine is our body’s liquid waste. Hematuria or blood in the urine is a common reason why someone may visit a urologist. When you see blood in your urine, it can be scary. So, let’s talk about it and shed some light.
There are two types of hematuria: gross hematuria and microscopic hematuria. Gross hematuria is a more common type of hematuria that patients seek treatment for as they can visually see the blood in their urine. The urine from a person with hematuria is often pink, red or brown. Conversely, microscopic hematuria is when a person can’t see the blood in his or her urine, yet a healthcare professional can see it under a microscope. Most often, it’s a symptom of an underlying health condition and may present itself with no other signs or symptoms. Although hematuria is not serious in most cases, it should prompt you to contact a urologist.
What are the Underlying Conditions Associated with Hematuria?
Hematuria is generally not seen as a condition on its own, but rather a symptom or good indication of another underlying health condition. Some of the most common health conditions that may be associated with hematuria include:
- Urinary tract infection (UTI) – An infection of the urinary tract, which includes the kidneys, ureters, bladder and urethra
- Bladder infections – A bacterial infection of the bladder
- Kidney infections – A bacterial infection of the kidneys
- Kidney stones – Small, hard calcium deposits that form in the kidneys that are often painful to pass
- Kidney disease – A disease of the kidneys, which affects your body’s ability to clean and filter your blood as well as control your blood pressure
- Enlarged prostate or prostate cancer – The enlargement or forming of cancer in the prostate gland, the gland in men that produces seminal fluid (sperm)
- Trauma to the kidney – Blunt trauma or injury to the kidney
- Malignancies of the urinary tract (bladder, kidney or prostate) – Most commonly bladder cancer
- Medications – Specific medications, such as blood thinners like Coumadin, aspirin, penicillin, heparin, cyclophosphamide and phenazopyridine
How is Hematuria Diagnosed?
There are several methods used to diagnose hematuria. Some of the most common include:
- Urine tests – Initial or repeat urinalysis and culture
- CT scan – To identify bladder or kidney stones, tumors or other abnormalities of the urinary tract
- Kidney ultrasound – Images used to inspect kidney structure
- Intravenous pyelogram (IVP) – An x-ray of the urinary tract
- Cystoscopy – A test that requires a small camera to be inserted into the bladder through the urethra
- Kidney or renal biopsy – A tissue sample used for the examination of kidney disease
How is Hematuria Treated?
Treatment for hematuria will depend on its underlying cause, which is determined by exams and tests. If there isn’t a serious condition causing a person’s hematuria, then treatment is typically not needed.
Howard Tay, MD, board certified urologist, has extensive experience treating hematuria. He can help diagnose what is causing it and determine the best course of treatment.
If you think you may be suffering from hematuria or ever spot blood in your urine, it’s important to seek treatment promptly to rule out the serious health conditions listed above. Contact Dr. Tay’s office to schedule an appointment at (602) 337-8500.