Hematuria

Hematuria

Overview

Haematuria refers to the presence of blood in the urine. Visible blood in the urine is called gross haematuria. Blood in the urine that is only visible under microscopic testing is known as microscopic haematuria. It is critical to identify the cause of the bleeding. The course of treatment is based entirely on the cause.

Signs and symptoms

Gross haematuria causes red coloured urine. This is due to the presence of red blood cells in the urine. The bleeding is usually not painful unless the patient is passing blood clots. Certain foods such as beetroot, rhubarb and berries can also turn the urine pinkish, but this usually stops within a few days.

Causes

Haematuria could be caused by urinary tract infections, kidney infections, enlarged prostate, sickle cell anaemia or internal bleeding due to kidney trauma. Haematuria could also be caused by advanced kidney, bladder or prostate cancer.

Risk factors

Anyone can develop haematuria but it is most common in men above the age of 50, who have enlarged prostate glands. A recent kidney or bladder infection, a family history of haematuria and certain medications like aspirin and penicillin can increase your risk of haematuria.

Complications

Haematuria could be an indication of cancer. Untreated haematuria could lead to kidney failure.

Diagnosis

Haematuria is diagnosed on the basis of a physical exam, a patient’s medical history, detailed urine analysis and imaging tests including a CT scan and an MRI scan. The doctor may also require a cystoscopy, wherein an endoscopic camera is inserted into the urethra and bladder to examine for causes of the haematuria. Sometimes the cause of the haematuria remains undiagnosed.

Treatment

The treatment for haematuria depends on the cause. Haematuria caused by urinary tract infections may be treated with antibiotics. The doctor will prescribe the appropriate medication in case an enlarged prostate is causing the haematuria. Kidney or bladder stones may be treated with shock therapy. If it is due to cancer, appropriate treatment will be recommended. The patient will have to follow up with the doctor to ensure that presence of blood in the urine is eliminated after the course of treatment.

Prevention

To prevent haematuria, the patient can take measures to prevent the underlying causes such as kidney or bladder stones, urinary tract infections and enlarged prostate gland.

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