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Hematuria (Blood in urine) : Definition, Causes


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Definition of Hematuria

Finding blood in your urine can be very frightening and must be investigated by a doctor, but it's not usually a sign of anything life-threatening.
While in many instances there are benign causes, blood in urine (hematuria) can also indicate a serious disorder.
Blood that you can see is called gross hematuria. Urinary blood that's visible only under a microscope is known as microscopic hematuria and is found when your doctor tests your urine. Either way, it's important to determine the reason for the bleeding. Treatment depends on the underlying cause.

Causes of Hematuria

The causes of gross and microscopic hematuria are similar and may result from bleeding anywhere along the urinary tract. One cannot readily distinguish between blood originating in the kidneys, ureters (the tubes that transport urine from the kidneys to the bladder), bladder, or urethra. Any degree of blood in the urine should be fully evaluated by a physician, even if it resolves spontaneously.
Common causes of blood in urine include:

Bladder infection (such as cystitis) – which typically also causes a burning pain when you urinate.

Kidney infection – which may also cause a high temperature and pain in the side of your tummy.

Kidney stones – which may be painless, but can sometimes block one of the tubes coming from your kidneys and cause severe tummy pain.

Urethritis – inflammation of the tube that carries urine out of the body (urethra); it's often caused by a sexually transmitted infection (STI) such as chlamydia.

An enlarged prostate gland – this is a common condition in older men and nothing to do with prostate cancer; an enlarged prostate gland will press on the bladder and may also cause problems such as difficulty urinating and a frequent need to urinate.

Bladder cancer – this usually affects adults aged over 50 and can also cause you to urinate more often and more urgently, as well as pain when urinating.

Kidney cancer – this also usually affects adults aged over 50, and can cause persistent pain below your ribs and a lump in your tummy.

Prostate cancer – this is usually only seen in men aged over 50 and usually progresses very slowly; other symptoms can include needing to urinate more frequently and urgently, and difficulty emptying your bladder.


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