Hematuria (Blood in the Urine)

What is hematuria?

Hematuria is the presence of red blood cells (RBCs) in the urine. Often, the urine appears normal to the naked eye, but examination under a microscope shows a high number of RBCs. In gross hematuria, the urine is red or the color of cola, which can be seen with the naked eye.

What causes hematuria?

Most of the causes are not serious, but, because hematuria may be the result of a tumor, or other serious problem, a physician should be consulted. Many people have hematuria without having any other related problems. To determine the cause of hematuria, or to rule out certain causes, a series of tests may be ordered.

How is hematuria diagnosed?

In addition to a complete medical history and physical examination, diagnostic procedures for hematuria may include the following:

  • urinalysis - laboratory examination of urine for various cells and chemicals, such as RBCs, white blood cells, infection, or excessive protein.

  • blood tests - laboratory examination of blood for high levels of waste products.

  • intravenous pyelogram (IVP) - a series of x-rays of the kidney, ureters, and bladder with the injection of a contrast dye into the vein - to detect tumors, abnormalities, kidney stones, or any obstructions, and to assess renal blood flow.

  • cystoscopy (Also called cystourethroscopy.) - an examination in which a scope, a flexible tube and viewing device, is inserted through the urethra to examine the bladder and urinary tract for structural abnormalities or obstructions, such as tumors or stones.

Treatment for hematuria:

Specific treatment for hematuria will be determined by your physician based on:

  • your age, overall health, and medical history

  • extent of the disease

  • underlying cause of the disease

  • your tolerance for specific medications, procedures, or therapies

  • expectations for the course of the disease

  • your opinion or preference

Many causes of hematuria are not serious and, in some cases, exercise can cause hematuria to go away within a day. It is important to consult your physician since hematuria may result from a tumor or other serious problem.

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