Finding blood in your urine may be scary, but it’s rarely a sign of anything life threatening. Nonetheless, it should be investigated.
You might see bright red blood in your urine, or your urine may be red or brown because it has red blood cells in it – and sometimes blood cells can only be detected when a urine test is carried out for something else. The medical name for blood in the urine is haematuria, and the blood will have come from somewhere within the urinary tract – the kidneys, the two ureters (tubes that lead to the bladder), the bladder itself, or the urethra, the tube that urine passes through to outside the body.
Symptoms of Blood in Urine
- Some medicines can turn urine brown or red.
- Beetroot can colour urine a deep pink.
- The blood could be coming from your back passage, or vagina (if you’re a woman)
Blood in urine may be coupled with pain or may be painless.
This is often caused by inflammatory conditions – urinary tract infections UTIs such as cystitis, which causes a burning pain, and will clear with treatment. Urethritis, or inflammation of the urethra, is another cause, sometimes due to the sexually transmitted infection Chlamydia.
Blood in urine, a high temperature of 38ºC or above, and pain in the side of your abdomen can indicate a kidney infection, although kidney stones, which sometimes block one of the ureters, can also cause severe tummy pain.
This is potentially more worrying, although it may be due to a benign condition such as prostate enlargement. However, it is important to check for more dangerous conditions such as prostate, bladder or kidney cancer; these are all more common in people aged over 50.
Men Only: The Prostate
An enlarged prostate gland can press on the bladder and cause problems urinating. This is common in older men and nothing to do with prostate cancer.
Diagnosis of Blood in Urine
Next, we look at your kidneys with an Xray and a kidney ultrasound scan, and possibly a CT scan or dye tests (intra-venous urogram). A cystoscopy (telescope test looking into the bladder) is usually required. This involves passing a narrow, flexible tube through your urethra (under a local anaesthetic) into the opening of the bladder to ensure that the lining of the bladder is normal. Sometimes, we need to take samples from the inside of the bladder (biopsies) to send for further tests to help make the correct diagnosis.
If these tests are normal, most patients can be discharged. If an abnormality is established, then your Somerset Urology Associates specialist will advise on the best treatment.