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Blood in your urine is medically known as haematuria and could be due to different conditions and diseases. These include cancer, kidney disease, rare blood disorders and infections. The blood detected in the urine can come from the kidneys, ureters, bladder or urethra. This article will talk about the types, causes and symptoms of haematuria.
What Are The Types Of Haematuria?
1. Gross haematuria- If your urine appears pink or red or has spots of blood, it's called gross haematuria.
2. Microscopic haematuria - In this type of haematuria, blood is not visible to the naked eye as the amount of blood in urine is very less. And this is only visible under a microscope.
What Are The Causes Of Haematuria?
1. Kidney stones
The presence of stones in the bladder or kidneys is one of the causes of blood in urine. Kidney or bladder stones are formed when minerals in the urine crystallize. Large stones can cause a blockage in the kidneys and bladder resulting in haematuria, thus causing significant pain.
2. Kidney diseases
Another less common cause of haematuria is an inflamed kidney or kidney disease. This can occur on its own or as a part of another disease like diabetes.
3. Kidney or bladder infections
The kidney or bladder infection occurs when the bacteria move up the urethra, a tube that carries urine out of the body from the bladder. The bacteria can move into the bladder and into the kidneys as well. This causes frequent urination and blood spots in urine.
4. Enlarged prostate or prostate cancer
Middle-aged or older men can have an enlarged prostate. The prostate gland is just below the bladder and near the urethra. So, when the gland becomes bigger, it compresses the urethra and this causes urination problems and may prevent the bladder from emptying out completely. This could result in a urinary tract infection with blood in urine.
Certain medicines that cause blood in urine are penicillin, aspirin, heparin, warfarin, and cyclophosphamide.
Bladder cancer, prostate cancer and kidney cancer also cause blood in urine.
Other less common causes include a tumour in the bladder, kidney or prostate, inherited diseases such as sickle cell anaemia and cystic kidney disease, kidney injury from an accident and vigorous workout.
What Are The Symptoms Of Haematuria?
- An obvious symptom is blood in your urine and the lack of normal yellowish colour. The colour of your urine may be red, pink, or brownish-red.
- If you have a kidney infection, the symptoms are fever, chills and pain in the lower back.
- In the case of haematuria due to a kidney disease, the associated symptoms are weakness, body swelling, and high blood pressure.
- In the case of haematuria due to kidney stones, the main symptom is abdominal pain.
When To See A Doctor?
When you spot blood in your urine, seek medical attention immediately. Also, if you are urinating frequently, experiencing a painful urination, or abdominal pain, it is an indication of haematuria.
Diagnosis Of Haematuria
Physical examination is done first where your doctor will ask about your medical history. This is followed by a urine test called urinalysis to see if the blood contains wastes that kidneys are supposed to remove.
Imaging tests are also done where the doctor recommends a CT or MRI scan, ultrasound scan, cystoscopy and kidney biopsy.
What Are The Complications Of Blood In Urine?
If you ignore the symptoms, they may no longer be treatable. If it's not treated on time, it can ultimately lead to kidney failure. A proper treatment can aid in reducing the symptoms.
What Are The Treatment Options?
Depending on the condition or disease causing haematuria, treatment might involve taking antibiotics to ward off the infection. Also until and unless a serious condition is causing the haematuria, no treatment is necessary.
If no underlying cause is found, it is advised to go for a urine test every three to six months and monitor your blood pressure.
However, for other causes of haematuria, the treatment includes:
1. Kidney stones - If you have smaller kidney stones, it can be flushed from the urinary tract by drinking plenty of water. Larger stones require surgery that break the stone.
2. Kidney or bladder cancer - Depending on the type of cancer and how much the cancer has spread, the treatment is done.
Diuretic medications aid in increasing the amount of urine excreted from the body, medications to control high blood pressure and antibiotics to treat any infection are all part of the treatment.
How To Prevent Haematuria?
- Drink plenty of water during the day to prevent infections and kidney stones.
- After sexual intercourse, urinate immediately to prevent infections.
- Avoid high sodium foods to prevent kidney and bladder stones.
- Don't smoke and limit your exposure to chemicals to prevent bladder cancer.
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