No one likes to have a reason for making a last-minute appointment with a doctor. Unfortunately, if you’ve recently noticed blood in your urine, the need to determine the causes might just make a doctor’s visit an inescapable fact, especially if it’s persistent. Most of what causes blood in urine is relatively harmless, but it does sometimes point to signs of a serious medical issue such as a kidney stone, cancer or something as relatively common as a urinary tract infection (UTI).
Visible blood in the urine is medically known as gross hematuria, but there is also urinary blood visible only under the power of a microscope, which is what the doctor sees during urine testing. In either case, it’s important to establish what causes blood in the urine, which is crucial in determining the best course of treatment.
The presence of visible blood causes urine to take on a pink, red or cola-colored appearance. It actually takes very little blood to cause red urine, and the bleeding usually isn’t anything that causes noticeable pain. However, passing blood clots in the urine can often be painful. In most cases, bloody urine occurs without any accompanying signs or symptoms.
So, what causes blood in urine and means that a trip to the doctor might just be a wise decision? Really, the answer is that it’s always better to be safe than sorry. Ignoring it under the assumption that it is something minor is never advisable, as putting it off could potentially make the situation worse.
Individuals using certain medications including laxatives or those who have recently eaten certain red-colored foods that include beets, rhubarb and berries may possibly notice redness in their urine. In these instances, however, the change in urine color usually goes away within a period of a few days. Bloody urine, by contrast, truly does look different, but differentiating the two isn’t always easily done. That’s where the doctor’s expertise becomes valuable.
What causes blood in urine can, in more severe cases, be many things that include:
- Urinary tract infections (UTI)
- Kidney infections
- Bladder or kidney stones
- Enlarged prostate
- Kidney disease
- Inherited disorders
- Kidney injuries
- Strenuous exercise
Is it a UTI?
Naturally, testing the urine is necessary for proper diagnosis. When a UTI is definitively determined as the cause for blood in the urine, the treatment is usually a round of antibiotics, which eliminates the infection. Most symptoms disappear within one of two days of taking the medication, but it’s extremely important that the entire course of treatment is fully completed to prevent flare-ups.
It’s fairly easy to get a urinary tract infection, as bacteria that already live in the genital and anal areas may enter the urethra and then travel to the bladder, where they cause an infection. Some cases of UTI also arise from chlamydia, gonorrhea or other organisms. Despite the fact that UTIs aren’t transmittable, having sex can potentially cause or worsen UTIs. However, sex isn’t always the cause of a UTI, and certain factors make the infection more common in some individuals including:
- History of previous UTIs
- Kidney stones or other obstructions in the urinary tract
- Use of spermicides or diaphragm
Common symptoms of UTI include:
- Bloody urine
- Cloudy urine
- Cramps, soreness or cramps in the back, lower belly or sides
- Extremely strong-smelling urine
- Pain and burning with urination
- Persistent urge to urinate
- Pus in the urine
Care with cause
At ProHealth, we specialize in giving our patients immediate care and dedicate ourselves to meeting your needs in as many ways as possible. We have convenient locations located throughout the Emerald Coast with convenient hours, and we do our utmost in making care more affordable. We even offer medical memberships that provide discounted care and exclusive access to Teledoc services for times when a visit to the office isn’t possible. For minor emergencies, health management, lab testing, physicals and vaccinations, we’ve become a locally trusted provider of high-quality healthcare services, and our patients come to us knowing that they’re in good hands.
Contact your local ProHealth facility to learn more about keeping yourself healthy today!