The visible or invisible blood in your urine is also known as hematuria. Though it isn’t normal, it is not necessarily a big cause of concern either. Your doctor will run a series of tests, mainly screening and a urine test to detect the root cause of the issue.
In hematuria, the color of the urine might change from yellow to red, dark red, brownish red, tea color, and pink. However, the changes in the color of your urine could indicate other minor issues. For example, it can be simply due to your diet, stress, and a pre-existing medical condition. You must contact a doctor immediately if you notice dark red spots of blood in your urine.
Is It Really Blood?
The changes in urine color do not mean there’s blood in your urine. The color of your urine could change due to certain foods, medical conditions, and drugs. Foods like rhubarb or beetroot can change your urine color. It is also common in people who are on certain drugs.
Some medical conditions could cause the hemoglobin to be released in your urine, causing the visible spots of blood in it. It is usually the excess hemoglobin in your body that’s released through the urine.
Similarly, there can be other factors or medical conditions that might change your urine color and make it appear reddish-brown or discolored. Plus, vaginal bleeding in females during menstruation could be the reason for blood in your urine. Hemorrhoids are another common cause of hematuria.
Types of Hematuria
– Microscopic Hematuria
There is a possibility that you may have hematuria, which isn’t visible to the naked eye. This is called microscopic hematuria. Only a professional practitioner can detect the spots of blood in your urine through microscopic evaluation. Now that you can’t notice any visible blood in your urine, it goes without saying that the symptoms of such hematuria often go unnoticed, and they are mostly detected during a regular health screening process.
– Gross Hematuria
In gross hematuria, the blood in urine is clearly visible. The patient can see the changes in the color of their urine. Patients with this medical condition have pink, red, and brownish urine. One of the common misconceptions of hematuria is that if the blood appears only once and disappears after that, it is normal. Contrary to popular beliefs, you should get the symptoms checked with a urologist for further evaluation.
Note: The patient might notice the drops of blood or blood clots in gross hematuria.
What is Normal?
Only a urologist can tell you whether hematuria is normal or not. They perform microscopic screening to identify the count of red blood cells in your urine. It is considered normal if the count of RBCs is below 3 per high power field. If the microscopic screening detects more RBCs in your urine, a further medical evaluation will be required. The following can be the causes of abnormal results:
- Bladder infection or kidney stones
- Prostate problems
- Injury in your kidney or bladder
- Prostate, bladder, or urinary tract cancer
How is Hematuria Detected?
The doctor will ask you to send a sample of your urine for lab tests. Cytology is the most common test for hematuria. The doctor checks the sample of your urine under a microscope to know if it’s really blood. They also note the count of red blood cells.
If the reports look abnormal, the doctor might order a CT scan that will help detect stones, tumors, and other possible causes of hematuria. An ultrasound is also used for getting a clear image of the kidneys.
Causes of Hematuria
Only the lab test can detect the root cause of hematuria. So, the sooner you approach a urologist and get your issue diagnosed, the faster and better the treatment plan will be. Note that hematuria can be painful or painless.
- Infection: If the blood in your urine is accompanied by pain and a frequent urge to urinate, it could be a urinary tract infection or kidney stones. It occurs due to the bacteria multiplying in your bladder. Bladder and kidney infections have almost similar symptoms, however, kidney infection is more likely to cause fever.
- Kidney Stones: The stones in your kidneys often go unnoticed and they are painless until they lead to a blockage or pass through urine. Kidney stone is the most common cause of microscopic and gross hematuria.
Painless hematuria: Sometimes, you spot the drops of blood in urine without any symptoms of pain. Painless hematuria can indicate a tumor or a more serious issue, such as prostate cancer. You may not notice the symptoms of cancer or a tumor until it reaches the advanced stage, which is why it is important that you approach a doctor immediately should you spot blood in your urine or changes in the urine color.
- Strenuous Exercise: Sports or exercise-induced hematuria is another common cause of blood spots in your urine. As the name implies, you might notice the visible blood while urinating after performing strenuous exercises, running for hours, or exhausting yourself physically. While it is not a major cause of concern, you don’t really know for sure if it’s caused by exercise. It is better to get it checked with a professional. A doctor will diagnose the underlying cause of hematuria after running a series of tests and scans.
Treatment Plan for Blood in Urine
The condition is treated by treating the root cause. For instance,
- If it’s painful hematuria caused by a urinary tract infection, a urologist will prescribe antibiotics to treat the issue.
- If it’s caused by kidney stones, your doctor might give you drugs that will help pass the stone through urine or perform surgery.
- Radiotherapy, chemotherapy, and surgery are a few effective invasive treatment options for those who notice blood in urine due to cancer
- The urologist might recommend benign prostatic hyperplasia treatment in Mumbai if the hematuria is caused by an enlarged prostate.