It’s a common scenario: You go to the bathroom to pee, and what you see next shocks you. But should you notice blood in your urine, don’t ignore it – report it to your urologist immediately.
The presence of blood in urine is called hematuria. There are two types: microscopic or gross hematuria. Microscopic hematuria means that the blood in your urine can only be seen under a microscope. Gross hematuria is when the blood is visible to the naked eye and appears red, brown, or pink.
Blood in the urine can indicate any number of medical conditions or disorders, including:
- Enlarged Prostate – enlargement of the prostate gland (also called benign prostatic hyperplasia) that can cause difficulty urinating
- Kidney Stones – small, hard deposits that form within the urinary tract and can be painful as it passes out of the body
- Urinary Tract Infection (UTI) – a common infection that may affect the kidneys, bladder or urethra (the duct through which urine exists the body)
- Cancer – blood in the urine can be a sign of cancer within the urinary tract, such as prostate cancer, kidney cancer, bladder cancer, or cancer affecting the urethra
- Kidney Disease – a chronic condition that leads to renal failure
In addition, certain medications, such as blood thinners, pain relievers, and antibiotics may sometimes cause blood to appear in the urine.
A urologist will likely begin with a urine test to assess the situation. A detailed medical history, including a current list of medications, is an important part of correctly diagnosing and treating the underlying reason for the blood in the urine.
A physical exam will also be done to check for pain in the bladder or kidneys. Men may be asked to have rectal and prostate exams to check for symptoms of an enlarged prostate. Women may undergo a pelvic exam to discover whether the blood may be coming from the uterus.
Treatment will depend on what is causing the hematuria. For example, a urinary tract infection may require antibiotics; kidney stones may require medication or in-office procedures to either break up or help the stones successfully pass out of the body.
To learn more about hematuria, and what to do if you see blood in your urine, call Urology Specialists of Milford at (508) 473-6333 to request an appointment with Dr. Steinberg.