Hematuria refers to the presence of blood in the urine. It can be a concerning symptom and may indicate an underlying medical condition. Hematuria can be classified into two main types:
- Gross Hematuria: In this type, blood is visibly noticeable in the urine. The urine can appear pink, red, or brownish in color, indicating a significant amount of blood. Gross hematuria is often a more alarming symptom and is more likely to prompt immediate medical attention.
- Microscopic Hematuria: Microscopic hematuria is not visible to the naked eye, but it can be detected under a microscope during urinalysis (laboratory examination of urine). Even though the urine appears normal, the presence of red blood cells in the urine indicates microscopic hematuria.
Hematuria can be caused by a variety of factors, ranging from benign conditions to more serious underlying diseases. Some common causes include:
- Urinary Tract Infections (UTIs): Infections in the bladder, urethra, or kidneys can lead to hematuria.
- Kidney Stones: The passage of kidney stones through the urinary tract can cause bleeding and hematuria.
- Trauma or Injury: Trauma to the urinary tract, such as from accidents or certain medical procedures, can cause bleeding.
- Urinary Tract Injuries: Injuries to the urinary tract can result in hematuria.
- Bladder or Kidney Infections: Infections in the bladder or kidneys can lead to hematuria.
- Enlarged Prostate: Benign prostatic hyperplasia (BPH) or prostate infections can cause hematuria in men.
- Bladder or Kidney Cancer: Hematuria can be an early sign of bladder or kidney cancer.
- Kidney Diseases: Certain kidney diseases, like glomerulonephritis, can lead to hematuria.
- Certain Medications: Some medications, like certain blood thinners or antibiotics, can cause hematuria as a side effect.
- Vigorous Exercise: Intense physical activity can sometimes lead to hematuria due to mechanical stress on the urinary tract.
- Inherited Conditions: Some inherited conditions, like sickle cell anemia, can cause blood in the urine.
If you experience hematuria, it’s important to seek medical attention. A healthcare provider will typically perform a thorough medical history review and physical examination. Diagnostic tests may include:
- Urinalysis: Examination of a urine sample to detect the presence of blood and other abnormalities.
- Imaging Tests: These may include ultrasound, CT scans, or MRIs to visualize the urinary tract and identify any structural abnormalities or tumors.
- Cystoscopy: A procedure where a thin, flexible tube with a camera is inserted into the bladder to visualize its interior.
- Blood Tests: Blood tests may be conducted to check kidney function and other markers.
The cause of hematuria will determine the appropriate treatment. It’s essential to follow medical advice and recommendations for further evaluation and management based on the underlying condition.