What does blood in urine mean ?
When one detects the presence of blood in the urine, it may result in some anxiety. However, it is not a cause of undue worry. This is because blood in the urine may be caused by something as simple as strenuous exercise or due to the consumptions of certain common medications such as aspirin. It is however important to remember that blood in the urine can also be due to some underlying serious medical condition.
The condition of blood in urine is medically referred to as hematuria.
Blood in the urine can be found in two different forms. Blood in the urine that is visible to the naked eyes is known as gross hematuria; while blood in the urine that can only be observed under a microscope is known as microscopic hematuria. The latter is detected when undergoing urine tests in a lab. In both the cases of blood in the urine, the cause has to be identified so as to come up with the correct plan of treatment.
The treatment for blood in the urine is dependent on the underlying causes. While blood in urine caused due to extreme exercising tends to disappear on its own in a couple of days, other causes of blood in the urine may require medical attention.
Symptoms of blood in the urine
Some of the signs and symptoms of blood in the urine include the following:
- In the visible form of blood in the urine, it may result in red, pink or cola-colored urine. This is due to the occurrence of red blood cells in urine. It is important to note that even miniscule amounts of blood in urine can give it the above mentioned colors.
- Blood in urine generally does not result in painful urination
- If urination is accompanied by the passage of blood clots along with the urine, then it can lead to painful urination
- Most of the times, blood in the urine is generally detected by the change in color, as other symptoms are rarely present.
- In the invisible form of blood in the urine, i.e. microscopic hematuria, the blood in urine is generally detected under a microscope while undergoing routine urine tests.
Causes of blood in the urine
Blood in the urine is caused when the kidneys or other components of the urinary system allow the leakage of blood cells into the urine. Some of the causes of blood in the urine, caused due to such leakage, are discussed below:
- Infections of the urinary tract: This may happen when bacteria pass into the body via the urethra and start to multiply in the bladder. Some of the signs of urinary tract infections include a frequent desire to urinate, discharge of a foul smelling urine and burning and painful sensation during urination. In some affected individuals, particularly elders or older adults, the only symptom of blood in the urine may be detection of blood under a microscope.
- Kidney or bladder stones: In some cases, the precipitation of the mineral contents of concentrated urine can lead to the formation of crystals on the walls of the bladder or the kidneys. With the passage of time, such crystals can develop into tiny, solid stones. The presence of such stones does not cause any pain, unless they lead to some sort of obstruction or pass out through the urine. This can then result in extreme pain during urination and is a major symptom of kidney stones. It can also result in both the visible and microscopic forms of blood in urine
- Infections of the kidneys: The kidneys can get infected by bacteria when it passes onto the kidneys via the ureters or through the bloodstream. Most of the symptoms of kidney infections are similar to those elicited by infections of the bladder. However, kidney infections are increasingly likely to result in abdominal pain as well as fever
- Prostate enlargement: The prostate organ, that surrounds the upper part of the urethra and is situated just below the bladder, normally tends to enlarge with the onset of middle age. The enlargement of the prostate gland somewhat obstructs the flow of urine due to increased compression of the urethra. A few symptoms of prostate enlargement include frequent and urgent desire to urinate, difficulties in urination and presence of blood in urine in both the visible and microscopic forms. Prostate gland infections may also cause similar symptoms.
- Cancer: Presence of blood in the urine may also be caused due to advanced stages of kidney, bladder and prostate cancers.
- Hereditary conditions: Certain types of disorders such as sickle cell anemia can also cause blood in the urine
- Extreme exercising: Engaging in strenuous exercise can also lead to blood in the urine. Athletes such as runners are usually affected by this.
- Drugs: Certain medications such as penicillin, aspirin, some blood thinners, etc. can lead to blood in the urine
- Kidney trauma: Any injury to the kidneys can result in temporary blood in the urine
Treatment of blood in the urine
Treatment for blood in the urine is focused at detecting the underlying causes and treating them
- Antibiotics may be used to treat infections of the urinary tract, kidneys, bladder, etc.
- Surgery or other medical treatments may be needed for kidney stones, tumors, etc.