Peeing blood is not normal, it can be one of the alarming situations. While in many of the cases blood in urine is harmless, it can also indicate a serious health issue. Blood in urine that is visible under the naked eye is called as gross hematuria. However, blood in the urine that the only one can see under the microscope is called as microscopic hematuria.
Microscopic hematuria is only diagnosed when your doctor tests your urine. It is important to know the cause behind this bleeding as the treatment plan depends on the underlying cause.
What are the Causes of Blood in Urine?
In the hematuria disorder, the kidneys, urinary tract, ureters and other parts related to the urination mechanism leaks the red blood corpuscles into the urine. This leakage can be caused by different health issues like:
1) Urinary Tract Infection
UTI occurs when bacteria invade your bladder and multiply via the urethra. Symptoms of UTI include:
• Burning sensation while urinating
• Dark color and smelly urine
• Persistent urge to urinate
RELATED: Urinary Tract Infections
However for many people especially elderly experience only the microscopic blood in urine.
2) Kidney Infections (Pyelonephritis)
In kidney infections, the bacteria targets your kidneys. The source of these bacteria in your kidneys is bloodstream or ureters. The signs and symptoms are just similar to the bladder infections, however, the only difference is that the person goes through fever and flank pain.
3) A Bladder Or Kidney Stone
In some of the cases, the concentrated urine starts forming crystals on the lining of kidneys and bladder. As time passes these crystals can transform themselves into small hard stones.
These hard stones usually do not cause any pain. Thus, the person himself does not know that if he is having any stone inside his body or not until and unless it causes any blockage or is passed in the urine. However, in many of the cases, the person experiences an excruciating pain. Stones both in bladder and kidneys can cause bleeding either microscopic or gross.
4) Enlarged Prostate
As the man approaches his midlife that is 45 he may observe his prostate gland getting enlarged. The prostate gland is a gland which surrounds the urethra (top part) and is situated below the bladder.
The enlarged prostate gland compresses the urethra. As a result, it partially blocks the urine flow. Signs and symptoms of an enlarged prostate, also called benign prostate hyperplasia (BPH) can cause:
• Difficulty in urination
• Persistent urge to urinate
• Gross or microscopic blood in urine
Infection in the prostate gland (prostatitis) can cause the same signs and symptoms that as of enlarged prostate.
5) Kidney Disease
A kidney disease known as glomerulonephritis can cause microscopic bleeding. This disease is an inflammation of the kidneys filtering system. It is a systematic disease like diabetes which does not have any cause and occurs on its own.
However, there are some factors which can trigger glomerulonephritis by affecting the capillaries of glomerulus which filters the blood in the kidneys. The factors include:
• Strep infections
• Viral infections
• Vasculitis, a blood vessel disease
• IgA nephropathy, an immune problem
Advanced kidney cancer, bladder cancer, and prostate cancer, all of them can cause gross bleeding. Only some of the people experience signs and symptoms of these cancers in their early stage when they are more treatable.
7) Inherited Disorders
An inherited disorder called sickle-cell anemia in which the red blood corpuscles become sickle-shaped can cause blood in urine. The sickle-cell anemia can cause both gross and microscopic hematuria. Same is the case with the disorder, Alport syndrome where it affects the filtering membranes of the glomeruli.
8) Kidney Injury
Kidney injuries either caused by an accident or contact sports can cause gross bleeding in your urine.
Cyclophosphamide and Penicillin are the two anti-cancer medications which can cause blood in your urine.
The gross bleeding can be caused if you are taking any anticoagulants, like aspirin or blood thinners, like heparin. If you are going through a condition in which your bladder bleeds then you may also observe visible bleeding.
10) Strenuous Exercise
It is very rare that strenuous exercise may lead one to gross bleeding, yet the cause is also unknown. Many people think that it is due to dehydration, stress to the bladder or because of the breaking of red blood corpuscles during the sustained aerobic exercise.
In most of the cases the athletes experience this, however, it can also target the ones who are doing an intense workout. If you observe any bleeding while urination then immediately contact your doctor.
However, in many of the cases, the cause of hematuria is not identified.
What are the symptoms of Hematuria?
Due to the presence of red blood corpuscles, the gross hematuria causes your urine to be of pink, red or of blackish brown color.
The blood urination is not painful if one is not passing any blood clot. Furthermore, your urine needs only a little amount of blood to become red. Blood in the urine usually brings no signs or symptoms.
Immediately contact your doctor if you see any blood in your urine as sometimes people are not able to make a difference between a normal and a bloody urine.
What are the Risk Factors of Hematuria?
Anyone at any age can experience blood in their urine. However, there are some factors which makes it more likely to occur. These factors are:
• Age: Many of the men aging above 50 experience hematuria due to enlarged prostate
• Certain Medications: Medications like aspirin, penicillin, and asteroidal anti-inflammatory pain relievers increase the risk of blood urination.
• A Recent Infection: A viral or bacterial infection can cause your kidney inflammation. This results in gross hematuria in children.
• Strenuous Exercise: The athletes who run long distances are more prone to urinary bleeding. This condition is also usually referred to as jogger’s hematuria. Not only athletes but anyone doing an intense workout session can experience visible hematuria.
• Family History: If someone is having a family history of kidney stones or kidney disease, then he must have a greater risk of developing hematuria.
What is the Treatment Plan for Hematuria?
As mentioned above, the treatment plan mainly depends on the underlying cause. To treat any kind of infection the doctor may prescribe you antibiotics. He may recommend you shock wave therapy for breaking bladder or kidney stones or prescribe you different medications for enlarged prostate.
In some of the cases, no treatment is needed. Make sure that you follow the instructions of your doctor even after the treatment plan so that you do not observe any further bleeding.