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Hematuria

Medically reviewed by Drugs.com. Last updated on Sep 1, 2023.

What is Hematuria?

Harvard Health Publishing

Hematuria is the presence of red blood cells in the urine. If there are enough red cells, the urine can become bright red, pink or cola colored. Often, however, the urine appears completely normal because there is not enough blood to cause a color change. In this case, the condition is called "microscopic" hematuria.

Hematuria

There are many possible causes of hematuria, including:

Symptoms

By itself, hematuria rarely causes symptoms. One exception is when the bladder has so much blood in it that clots form, and the flow of urine is blocked. This can cause pain at the site of the blockage in the lower pelvis. Symptoms usually come from the cause of the hematuria, and vary depending on the condition:

Diagnosis

Your health care professional will want a sample of your urine to confirm that you have hematuria. In women, blood can get into the urine during menstruation. Your doctor may want to repeat the urine test between periods.

Once your doctor has confirmed that you have hematuria, he or she will ask about your medical history and your family's medical history, especially any history of kidney disease, bladder problems or bleeding disorders. Your doctor also will ask about any recent trauma or strenuous exercise, recent viral or bacterial infections, the medications you take, and your symptoms, including more frequent urination, pain with urination and pain in your side.

Your doctor also will examine you. He or she will take your temperature and blood pressure, and will see if you have pain or discomfort in your side or over your bladder. The doctor may recommend that women undergo a pelvic examination, and men undergo a prostate examination.

Your doctor will ask you for a fresh urine sample for a urinalysis. Urine is analyzed in the laboratory to look for protein, white cells and red cells to identify a kidney or bladder infection, or kidney inflammation (glomerulonephritis).

Then, depending on the suspected cause of your hematuria, additional testing may include:

Additional testing for conditions causing kidney inflammation (such as lupus) may be recommended, depending on the findings of the routine blood and urine tests.

Expected Duration

How long hematuria lasts depends on its underlying cause. For example, hematuria related to strenuous exercise typically goes away on its own within 24 to 48 hours. Hematuria resulting from a urinary tract infection will end when the infection is cured. Hematuria related to a kidney stone will clear after the stone is passed or removed.

Prevention

To prevent hematuria related to strenuous exercise, switch to a less-intense exercise program. In general, you can help to prevent other forms of hematuria by following a lifestyle that fosters a healthy urinary tract:

Treatment

The treatment of hematuria depends on its cause. In general, people with exercise-related hematuria do not need any treatment other than to modify their exercise programs. People with drug-related hematuria will improve if they stop taking the medication that caused the problem. Antibiotics typically will cure infection-related hematuria. For other causes of hematuria, treatment may be more complex:

When To Call A Professional

Call your doctor immediately if you notice blood in your urine or if your urine turns the color of cola. You should also call your health care professional if you have fever or pain in the lower abdomen or side.

Prognosis

Most people whose hematuria is related to exercise, medication, kidney stones, urinary tract infection or prostatitis have an excellent outlook for complete recovery.

Children with hematuria resulting from glomerulonephritis usually recover completely if their illness is mild or if it develops after a strep infection. Adults with glomerulonephritis are less likely to recover on their own, although the outlook depends on the specific type of glomerulonephritis. More severe forms of the disease eventually can lead to chronic kidney failure.

For people with kidney or bladder cancer, the outlook depends on the stage and type of tumor. In general, if a kidney or bladder tumor is diagnosed early, the cancer often can be cured.

Although people with hemophilia may have repeated bleeding episodes (including bleeding into joints, internal organs and other parts of the body), recent advances in treatment have achieved a near-normal lifespan for many patients.

Additional Info

National Institute of Diabetes and Digestive and Kidney Disorders
http://www.niddk.nih.gov/

National Kidney Foundation
http://www.kidney.org/


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