Have you ever got tensed seeing blood in your urine?
Well, that is a disturbing sight and can actually be a matter of serious concern.
Whenever you encounter a situation like this it is very normal to get tensed but it is better to first find out the reason before getting too worried about it.
The reason for blood in your pee which is medically termed as Hematuria could be a sign that something is wrong with your kidneys or the urinary tract. The reason for both could be different and vary in the gravity of their intensity.
What is Hematuria in Medical term?
Medically speaking, Hematuria is the presence of red blood cells in the urine. If the presence is nominal then you might not see a color change in the urine and that condition is termed as ‘Microscopic Hematuria’. This happens when the red blood cells are present in a small quantity but even that could be a matter of serious concern.
Another condition is when the urine is bright red or pink in color. This happens when a huge quantity of red blood cells is present in the urine. In this case, you will be completely aware of the situation and should get immediate medical attention to know the severity of the situation.
But even if the blood is not visible to the naked eye, the condition could be still serious and should be dealt with proper care and attention even if this has happened just once.
Hematuria can be a result of many possible medical conditions affecting the kidney or Urinary tract. Some of them may be harmless but some could be hugely detrimental if not treated timely.
So, let us give you a brief guide to what are the possible reasons for Hematuria could be and when you need to see a doctor.
Reasons for Hematuria:
Urinary tract infection
Hematuria can be caused by an infection in any part of the urinary tract, kidney or the bladder.
Infection happens when the bacteria move to the tube through which urine is eliminated from the body. This may be a result of STD or unhygienic conditions. The infection which usually happens in the bladder can move up to the kidney and can cause severe pain.
The usual symptoms through which you can identify Infection are- pain and the urge to pee frequently but not actually urinating, burning with urination, and extremely pungent smelling urine.
So, if you experience these symptoms consult a doctor and confirm if it is Hematuria. It may be the case of microscopic hematuria which will not get your immediate attention but will worsen the problem if not treated timely.
Kidney or bladder stones
The urine is composed of different minerals which sometimes get concentrated in the form of crystals which are called stones.
They develop inside your kidneys or bladder and vary in their shape and size depending on which the intensity of the situation is comprehended.
In case the stones are small, they can be eliminated by medication only but large stones require proper surgical treatment to rid of the pain. However, both the cases are equally dangerous and should be treated timely.
Strenuous exercise hematuria
This is a condition when too strenuous exercise leads to the production of blood in the urine which causes hematuria. This is more of a possibility with men than women because usually, they go for very harsh and strenuous workout.
Enlargement of Prostate gland
A common condition with middle-aged men is the enlargement of prostate gland. This is a gland present under the bladder which facilitates urination.
When it gets enlarged the urethra gets compressed which results in pain and hematuria.
This does not let the bladder eliminate urine completely and even result in an infection. To prevent it from getting any worse the patient needs to see a doctor.
Another plausible reason of hematuria can be an injury to any part of the urinary tract- bladder, kidney or urethra. This may be a result of an accident or violent pressure on the parts which results in a damage that causes bleeding.
Too much of drugs
One more common reason for having microscopic or even gross hematuria is too much intake of blood thinning medicines. You may be taking these medicines for any reason but their intake in excessive quantity leads to Hematuria.
These medicines are:
- Warfarin (Coumadin)
- Drugs containing too much sulfate and cyclophosphamide (Cytoxan).
Hematuria can also be a possible result of cancer in any part of the bladder, kidney or prostate. This often happens at a higher stage of cancer and leads to other serious conditions which may have detrimental effects on urinary organs.
Infection in the Glomeruli
There is a disorder in which filtering units of kidney get infected by a bacteria or virus which leads to inflammatory conditions.
The disease is termed as Glomerulonephritis and often leads to a severe level Hematuria. The condition is a result of other syndromes like systemic lupus erythematosus (lupus or SLE) and vacuities.
Sometimes, the causes are not directly identifiable but still leads to severe problems.
Even strep infection can lead to this disorder and proper treatment is required to cure the condition.
There are many reasons that you might have blood in your urine and one such reason is a bleeding disorder which may be either hemophilia or von Will brand’s disease.
Other rare causes of Hematuria could be:
- Sickle cell anemia
- Alport syndrome
Other normal conditions which lead to Hematuria are:
- Sexual activity
- Polycystic kidney disease
- Formation of Blood clots in urinary tracts.
How is Hematuria Diagnosed?
- The diagnosis will be made on the basis of the intensity of the condition. The doctor will make the diagnosis on the basis of various criteria like- amount of blood, the frequency of bleeding in urination, the kind of pain you are experiencing and what drugs are you taking.
- The doctor may also ask you about your family’s medical history or any history of kidney disease or diabetes.
- Your doctor will also test any cases of injury or vigorous exercise or any viral or bacterial infections or urinal infection.
- Blood test to identify a kidney or bladder infection, or kidney inflammation (glomerulonephritis).
Tests to diagnose:
Your Doctor will take a sample of your urine to confirm that you have hematuria. The testing can help the doctor to analyze what is the severity of the condition and detect the causes leading to it.
Your doctor will test temperature, blood pressure and do blood tests to identify any sort of viral or bacterial infection. The conditions are usually caused by the pelvic infection in women so that kind of tests is performed on females.
The conditions are usually caused by prostate enlargement in men so those kinds of tests are performed on males.
A radiologist also performs a CT scan which gives computerized zoomed images of an area like kidneys, ureters, and bladder to identify any probable reason for concern there.
This test is done to identify any possible reason for concern in the kidney like cyst, stones, infection or any tumor.
In this test, a flexible telescope is inserted into the urethra to reach the bladder to inspect any blockages or obstacles like tumors or cysts.
Symptoms of Hematuria:
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:
If the kidney infection is the cause of Hematuria the symptoms you will experience are:
- High Blood pressure
- Swelling in the belly
- less urination
If the Bladder infection is the cause of Hematuria the symptoms you will experience are:
- Severe pain in the bladder region
- Feeling Feverish
- Getting chills
- Projectile vomiting
- Pungent smell in the urine
- Pain during eliminating urine
- Frequent urge to urinate
If the Prostate infection is the cause of Hematuria the symptoms you will experience are:
- Pain in the lower back
- Pain in penis
- Presence of blood in semen
- Difficulty in sexual activity
- If there is any tumor in the kidney or bladder which is causing hematuria the symptoms are difficult to identify. It will not cause much pain but you will have discomfort during urination.
- Kidney stones- Kidney stones will cause a lot of pain and will lead to painful and frequent urination.
- Most of the times, the causes of Hematuria are very detrimental and can lead to further worsening of the condition is ignored.
- If the cause is tumor or infection, the condition will lead to fatal consequences if left untreated. If the issues is in the kidney or bladder, lack of treatment will lead to permanent failure of the organ.
So, whatever the case may be, you should immediately consult a doctor and get it treated ASAP to rid your form the pain and discomfort.
How to prevent Hematuria?
Also, you may take certain precautions to avoid this condition at first place. This includes:
To prevent infection- Keep yourself hydrated. Dehydration is the most common cause of Hematuria due to infection.
Also, you should maintain proper hygiene so you do not catch any infection and sexual hygiene also to avoid cases of STD.
If you have a tendency to develop kidney stones then avoid certain foods which have seeds like –Tomatoes and other foods that lead to the formation of kidney stones.
To avoid Hematuria through strenuous exercise switch to less intense exercise.
Avoid smoking cigarettes and exposure to chemicals which may lead to cancer.
- If strenuous exercise is the cause of Hematuria for you then you would not need any treatment. You just have to switch to less intense workout and symptoms will be gone in a day or so.
- People with hematuria due to excessive intake of drug- thinning medicines will also not need any specific treatment. If they have identified certain drugs to be the cause of bleeding then they should just stop taking those medicines.
- If the infection is the cause of your hematuria then you must consult a doctor to analyze the severity. Typically, in these cases, a physician would give you Antibiotics to get done with your viral or bacterial infection.
These were some normal cases where the causes of Hematuria are not very harmful.
While there are cases where Hematuria is a result of a family of diseases and other serious problems which needs intense medical attention.
Some serious problems are:
If Kidney stones are small they may get eliminated by drinking a lot of water. In fact, the doctor may also recommend you to drink beer which facilitates this extraction. There are certain medicines also which will break the kidney stone into even smaller pieces which will be eliminated easily.
However, if you are having larger stones then you must have to undergo a surgery to remove them.
If the hematuria is a result of a severe injury, then also you may need to get the surgery done to treat the wound.
The worst case scenario is the one when hematuria is a result of a cancerous tumor in the kidney or bladder- In this case, the treatment would depend on the cancer stage and the age of the patient. Apart from the general cancer treatment, the patient would need specific attention to the kidney area to get done with the tumor.
The usual treatment followed in these cases includes- surgery, chemotherapy, radiation therapy and immunotherapy and intense and heavy drug therapy.
Glomerulonephritis is one kind of kidney infection which leads to bleeding in the urine. To treat this, the patient will be put on the right diet to reduce the work of the kidney and will be given medicine to treat the infection.