A Personal Note:
Seeing blood in any place where it shouldn’t be is a cause for concern. So, it is completely understandable that when patients come to me to report blood in their urine, they are extremely worried, to say the least.
While there are reasons that hematuria (or blood in the urine) may be a sign of a serious issue or condition, this is not always the case.
Hematuria is one of the most common conditions that urologists see today for patients both young and old. However, keep in mind that just because it is common doesn’t mean it is normal. (1)
There are two types of hematuria. The first type is microscopic hematuria, which refers to trace amounts of blood in the urine — so small they can only be seen with a microscope. The second type is gross hematuria, which refers to blood in the urine that is visible to the naked eye, appearing pink, red, or brown in color. As can be expected, gross hematuria is much more likely to be a symptom of a significant urological disease than microscopic hematuria. (2)
Less Serious Reasons For Blood In Urine
There are many reasons to find blood in the urine that are not cause for concern. You should still speak to your doctor or health care professional if you see blood in urine.
- Medication. Some medications are known to cause blood in the urine such as pain killers (including aspirin), blood thinners (such as warfarin) and even some antibiotics.
- Strenuous exercise. A particularly difficult workout or a long distance run can sometimes cause blood to appear in the urine. (2)
- Sexual activity. Sexual intercourse was shown to cause hematuria in 25% of women. (3)
- Certain foods. While food generally isn’t the cause of blood in the urine, some foods such as rhubarb, berries, and beets can turn your urine a reddish color for up to a few days, making it look like hematuria. (2)
More Serious Reasons For Blood In Urine
Sometimes, hematuria can be a direct result of a more serious condition, such as the following:
- Kidney infection. Especially if you are also experiencing a fever and back, side or groin pain, the cause of your hematuria may be a kidney infection or inflammation. Kidney stones or kidney cancer are also possibilities.
- Bladder condition. Hematuria may be caused by urinary stones, bladder stones, or a urinary tract infection (UTI). UTI’s are most commonly accompanied by painful and frequent urination.
- Prostate cancer. If the source of blood is a bleeding prostate, hematuria could be a sign of prostate infection or cancer. (2)
Taking A Course Of Action
Because it is difficult to tell what could be the exact cause of blood in your urine, you should immediately contact your primary care physician if you suspect hematuria.