When red blood cells are seen in urine, the condition is known as ‘hematuria’. It could be due to rigorous exercise or it could be due to some medicines also, like aspirin. But it could be a cause for concern also.
There are 2 kinds of hematuria, namely:
- Gross hematuria: In gross hematuria red blood cells can be seen in urine.
- Microscopic hematuria: In this red blood cells cannot be seen with open eyes but can be detected through microscope.
The red blood cells can be found out when tests are taken by the medical expert. There are different ways to treat red blood cells in urine. When red blood cells in urine are due to rigorous exercise then generally it stops after few days. If it is not due to exercise then medical expert has to be consulted.
Symptoms of Red Blood Cells in Urine
- The color of urine due to red blood cells could be red, pink or cola.
- Miniscule amounts of blood are required to impart a red color to the urine.
- On most occasions, passing of such urine does not cause pain.
- Presence of blood clots can lead to painful urination
Causes of Red Blood Cells in Urine
Red blood cells are allowed to be leaked into the urine by kidneys or the rest of the parts of the urinary tract. Following are some of the causes for its leakage:
- Kidney disease: Red blood cells in urine which can be seen through a microscope are usually a symptom for glomerulonephritis. Glomerulonephritis is an inflammation of the filtering system of the kidney. It could be due to vasculitis, strep or viral infections and immune problems.
- Kidney injuries: When any injury occurs to the kidneys due to accidents or other reasons like sports, then it could cause red blood cells to be seen in urine.
- Kidney infections: When the bacteria enter the kidney, it leads to infections in kidneys. These infections are known as pyelonephritis. Symptoms of kidney infections are same like bladder infections but in kidney infections fever and side pain is more common.
- Urinary tract infections: When the bacteria enter the body through urethra and increase in the bladder then it could lead to infections in urinary tract. Some symptoms of urinary tract infections are pain and burning sensation while urinating, foul odor and continuous urge to urinate.
- Kidney or bladder stones: Due to concentration of minerals in urine, crystals are formed on the linings of bladder or kidneys. Eventually, if these crystals remain untreated for long, then they turn to stones.
- Cancer: Kidney, bladder or prostate cancer could also be a cause for red blood cells in urine.
- Enlarge prostate: When a person (male) approaches his mid thirties the prostate gland which is situated right below the bladder (which surrounds the top section of the urethra) starts to grow. When the prostate grows it squeezes the urethra leading to slight blockage of flow of urine. Its symptoms are continuous urge to urinate or red blood cells in urine.
- Rigorous exercise: Exact reason for red blood cells in urine due to exercise is not very clear. It could be that when exercise is done rigorously, the bladder may get upset or there may be dehydration or breakdown of red blood cells. Usually athletes like runners are affected due to their rigorous exercise regime.
- Inherited conditions: Red blood cells in urine could be due to hereditary reasons also, like sickle cell anemia. Sickle cell anemia is a hereditary disorder of hemoglobin in red blood cells.
- Medications: Some drugs like aspirin, heparin, and penicillin could also cause red blood cells to be seen in urine.
Test for Red Blood Cells in Urine
Following are the tests to be taken for red blood cells in urine:
- Urine test: When blood is seen in urine then urinalysis has to be conducted, and it has to be confirmed twice to have the assurance that urine does not have any red blood cells.
- Physical examination: In physical examination medical history is discussed for complete information.
- Cystoscopy: In cystoscopy the medical expert will insert a thin tube along with a small camera into the bladder so to examine the urethra and the bladder.
- Imaging tests: It makes available images with complete details of the internal organs. Instruments used for this could be computerized tomography i.e. CT scans.
In case the causes of red blood cells in urine are not detected then the medical expert may advise for continuous follow-up test in particular for those who have chances for bladder cancer due to smoking or contact with environmental toxins.
Treatment of Red Blood Cells in Urine
- Usually there is no detailed treatment to treat red blood cells in urine. The medical expert may advise antibiotics to clean up the infection in urinary tract or shock wave therapy to breakdown kidney or bladder stones or advise some medicines to reduce the enlargement of prostate.