Blood in Urine (Hematuria): When to See a Doctor
Jan 8, 2020
Using the restroom is such a regular part of your life that you probably don’t even recount it when listing what you’ve done during the day. Yet, while urinating seems like second nature, it can be alarming to see blood in your urine. Some cases of this happening are harmless, but typically, blood in urine indicates more severe issues. What causes it, and when is it serious enough to see a doctor?
Causes of Blood in Urine
Blood in urine — also called hematuria — can occur as a side effect of using medications like aspirin, heparin, and penicillin. In some rare — and misunderstood — cases, it can also occur with strenuous exercise. While these incidents are typically pretty harmless, other causes should raise more of a red flag. Other conditions include:
- Trauma to the urinary tract
- Kidney or bladder cancer
- Prostate gland enlargement
- Kidney disease
- Nephrolithiasis — including kidney stones or bladder stones
- Infections — such as a UTI
- Hematologic disorders — like sickle cell disease
Symptoms of Hematuria
There are two different kinds of hematuria — blood in the urine that can be seen (known as gross hematuria) or microscopic blood in the urine (also known as microscopic hematuria). If you’re experiencing gross hematuria, then the most sure-sign is seeing blood when you urinate. Since hematuria is a sign itself of other conditions, instead, you should pay attention to additional symptoms you may be experiencing. For example, when dealing with UTIs, you may also experience painful urination or the need to urinate frequently. If you have kidney stones, then you may have severe abdominal pain and be nauseous.
Microscopic hematuria is more difficult to notice on your own. The best way to determine if there is blood in your urine is to attend your routine physical exam. Your doctor will take a urine sample, and by testing your urine, they’ll be able to figure out if you have microscopic blood present. The same can be said for children with either type of hematuria — as they often don’t produce any other types of symptoms.
Risk Factors of Hematuria
While there are many causes for hematuria, there are also risk factors that can make you more susceptible to experiencing gross or microscopic hematuria. Common risk factors may include:
- A family history of kidney disease
- Chronic UTI
- Exposure to chemicals in the workplace
- Radiation treatment for pelvic cancer
When to See a Doctor
If you ever experience blood when you urinate, you should see a doctor immediately. That’s because most cases of gross hematuria are typically linked to cancer or other issues that require immediate medical care. To ensure you get the proper diagnosis and treatment you need in a timely manner, visit an urgent care clinic.
The doctor will perform a physical exam — for men, a rectal exam may be conducted to rule out prostate problems — and additional tests may be administered. During the exam, the doctor will also ask about your history and any medications that you’re currently taking. In addition to physical, rectal, and pelvic exams, your doctor may also administer:
- A cystoscopy exam
- Kidney imaging tests
- Urine tests
Hematuria Treatment Options
How to treat your hematuria depends on the cause. If you have a UTI, your doctor will prescribe antibiotics. If you have kidney stones, your options are typically to let the stones pass on their own, take medication, or undergo surgery to have the stones removed. Other possible treatments include:
- Radiation treatment
- No treatment — if determined your hematuria isn’t caused by a medical condition
Drinking plenty of water can help prevent hematuria associated with infections and stones, while avoiding smoking and exposure to chemicals can prevent some cancers. But, since hematuria is often a symptom of other medical conditions, it can be difficult to pinpoint what changes to their lifestyle, one should make to prevent experiencing hematuria. The best thing you can do is attend routine physical exams to catch medical issues early.
Emergency Services in Colorado Springs and Texas
If you or a loved one have blood in your urine, we can provide the care you need. If you have questions or need immediate treatment, your nearest Complete Care location is ready to help, no matter the time of day or night. We offer a variety of services to help you and your family in your time of need. No appointments are necessary.
Find the Complete Care location nearest you.