Hematuria or blood in urine is a warning signal of possible serious health problems, such as kidney stones, urinary tract infections, or even cancer.
Rare blood disorders can also cause hematuria. The blood in urine might be perfectly visible or slightly visible and in this case only a proper urine test can help to spot the problem.
Actually, any amount of blood in your urine – even if it occurs only once – may be an indication of a serious health problem.
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Once you see any change in your urine, you should see a doctor immediately. If ignored and left untreated, hematuria gradually leads to the complications and worsening of possible serious conditions, such as kidney disease and cancer.
Today, we’re going to learn everything about blood in urine, so read on.
What are the main types of hematuria and their symptoms?
There are two major types of hematuria that can be detected by a doctor after a range of medical tests. Besides blood in urine, the possible symptoms of both types of hematuria are stomach pain, low back pain, nausea, fever, vomiting, a pain in the side, and poor appetite.
Microscopic hematuria is a highly common condition, especially among women, but it’s also one of the most ignored conditions that lead to serious complications. When dealing with this type of hematuria, you are not able to see the blood in your urine as the amount of it is very small. A certain lab test is required to detect the blood in your urine and diagnose a microscopic hematuria.
Gross hematuria is easy to spot yet a urine test is required to detect the cause of it. If you see a great amount of blood in your urine or you see red or pink spots in it, you might be suffering from a gross hematuria.
What are the most common causes of hematuria?
The blood in urine may appear from different sources and there are several major triggers of hematuria. When women see the blood in urine, it might be coming from the vagina.
When men see the blood in urine, it might be appearing in the ejaculate. The blood in urine can also come from a bowel movement in women and men alike. If the blood is detected in your urine, below are a few potential reasons for it:
A prolonged intake of medications, such as blood thinners (warfarin and heparin), aspirin, penicillin, and cyclophosphamide (used to treat cancer), can lead to hematuria. There are many other medications that can lead to the blood in urine, but it depends on how your body reacts to them.
Blood in urine is one of the symptoms of kidney disease. An untreated inflamed or diseased kidney can eventually lead to hematuria. Kidney disease can occur on its own or can be a symptom of another condition like diabetes.
The 6 to 10 year old kids can experience hematuria due to the poststreptococcal glomerulonephritis, which is a kidney disorder that occurs after a throat or skin infection. After an untreated or poorly treated strep infection, the poststreptococcal glomerulonephritis can develop for 7 to 14 days. The condition is easy to treat with the help of antibiotics, but only if you start your treatment timely.
Middle-aged and older men have a high risk of developing an enlarged prostate, which is a common cause of blood in urine.
This gland is located near the urethra and beneath the bladder. As the prostate grows, it starts compressing the urethra.
It leads to urinating issues and can even stop the bladder from a complete emptying. This might cause a urinary tract infection followed by hematuria.
One of the most common causes of blood in the urine is the stones in the kidney or bladder. The stones are the small crystals formed from the minerals in urine.
The stones tend to develop inside the bladder or kidneys. The larger stones in both the bladder and kidneys can lead to a blockage that usually results in an intense stomach pain and blood in urine.
Hematuria is often triggered by various infections. The infection might be in your kidneys, bladder, or in your urinary tract. The infection develops when bacteria travel in the urethra, which is a tube that is responsible for the urine removal from the body.
The infection can start in one place and move into the other, so a quick and proper treatment is required. Infections cause pain and frequent urination. There can be microscopic or gross hematuria.
Certain types of cancers, including the prostate, kidney, and bladder cancers can trigger blood in urine. Hematuria happens in more complicated cancer cases, albeit blood in urine can be an early signal of a certain cancer as well.
There are a few more causes of blood in urine, which are very less common yet must be considered. The rare blood disorders like hemophilia, Alport syndrome, and sickle cell anemia can cause hematuria. A blow to the kidneys or strenuous exercise can also result in the blood in urine.
How is hematuria diagnosed?
As soon as you spot hematuria, it’s important to see a doctor. They’ll ask you several important questions about your symptoms, your frequency of urination, and medications that you might be taking.
Apart from a physical examination, your doctor will collect a small amount of your urine. The test of your urine should confirm or deny the presence of bacteria and/or blood. In rare cases, a doctor orders imaging tests like a CT scan, if you have hematuria complications.
In some cases a cystoscopy is required to set a diagnosis of hematuria. The process involves sending a camera up into your bladder and urethra by using a tiny tube.
The camera helps a doctor to better examine the interior of the urethra and bladder to find out the trigger of blood in urine.
How is hematuria treated?
The treatment of hematuria greatly depends on the condition that causes the blood in your urine. The treatment usually involves taking certain antibiotics that a doctor prescribes.
These antibiotics help to fight and prevent a urinary tract infection. If you have an enlarged prostate, you will need to take medications that help to reduce the size of the prostate.
If you have the stones in your kidneys or bladder, you may need to undergo a shock wave therapy to eliminate the stones. If you spot hematuria early, you might avoid medications and try some home remedies like drinking chamomile tea or cranberry juice.
Chamomile tea helps to combat infection and hydrate your body, boosting the immune system. Cranberry juice boasts potent antibiotic abilities and wards off sticking of bacteria to the bladder’s walls.
Other home remedies are:
- Pumpkin treatment: Mash a small amount of pumpkin into a paste and combine with sugar cane juice. Stir and drink right away. This remedy is believed to quickly prevent the blood in urine.
- Coconut water mix: Add 2 teaspoons of drumstick flower juice to a glass of unsweetened coconut water. Stir and drink it two times during the day. The remedy aids in fighting and preventing infections that can trigger hematuria.
- Increase vitamin C intake: A weak immune system is unable to fight bacteria and infections, which is why it’s important to strengthen and support it. You can do it by eating vitamin C rich fruit and berries or taking a vitamin C supplement.
- Pomegranate juice: Drinking a glass of this juice is also believed to aid in treating hematuria. The thing is, pomegranate juice has antibacterial properties that fight viruses and bacteria.
- Lemon juice: Bring a cup of water to a boil and add in a teaspoon of fresh lemon juice. Let it cool and sip it every two hours throughout the day.
- Baking soda drink: It helps to combat urinary tract infection and fungal infections and is helpful in preventing the blood in urine. Add 1/2 tablespoon of baking soda to a big glass of water. Stir and drink 1-2 times during the day.
Before trying any home remedy, be sure to consult a doctor first.
How to prevent hematuria
It’s always better to prevent a disease than deal with it. You can prevent the underlying causes of the blood in your urine in a few simple steps:
- Stay hydrated by drinking 7-9 glasses of water and avoiding excess salt consumption. Limit your intake of certain foods, particularly rhubarb and spinach. This way, you may prevent the development of the stones in your bladder and kidneys.
- Practice good hygiene, urinate right after a sexual intercourse, stay hydrated daily to prevent infections, particularly in the bladder.
- In order to reduce your risk factor of bladder cancer, limit your exposure to chemicals, ditch smoking, go vegan, stay hydrated, and skip alcohol.
What are the complications associated with the blood in urine?
A lot of the causes of hematuria are highly serious. If you delay your treatment, you’re more likely to face the complications associated with the blood in urine.
If hematuria is because of cancer, you might experience a faster development of the tumor to the point that it’s untreatable. If you ignore infections, you will have an increased risk of kidney failure.
If an enlarged prostate isn’t treated timely, it can result in severe pain and discomfort during urination and even cancer.
Although hematuria isn’t life-threatening in most cases, it doesn’t mean you should ignore it. As soon as you spot any amount of blood in your urine, see a doctor as soon as possible.