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Blood in the urine is a common problem. The medical term for red blood cells in the urine is hematuria. Sometimes blood in the urine is a sign of a more serious problem in the urinary tract. Other times it is not serious and requires no treatment.
The urinary tract consists of the following structures:
Blood in urine is not always visible. If the amount of blood is small, the urine looks normal. This is called microscopic hematuria because the blood cells are visible only under a microscope. Typically, this is discovered when you have a urine test for some other reason.
When there is enough blood to be visible, the urine may look pinkish, red, or smoky brown (like tea or cola). This is called gross or frank hematuria. It takes very little blood in urine to be visible—about one fifth of a teaspoon in a half quart of urine.
A trace amount of blood in your urine is normal. The average person with a healthy urinary tract excretes about 1 million red blood cells (RBC) in the urine each day. This amount of blood is not visible. This is not considered hematuria.
An abnormal amount of blood in the urine can be acute (new, occurring suddenly) or chronic (ongoing, long term). Acute hematuria can occur just once, or it can occur many times.
Up to 10% of people have hematuria. About 3% of people develop gross hematuria.
Hematuria has many different causes.
The well-known causes of blood in the urine include the following:
Sometimes no cause is found for blood in the urine.
Urine can be colored pink, red, or brown for reasons that have nothing to do with bleeding in the urinary tract.
Blood in the urine is itself a symptom rather than a disease. The appearance of the urine is usually not a clue as to the cause.
Many people with hematuria have no other symptoms. Other symptoms are related to the underlying cause of the bleeding.
Kidney stones: Not all people with kidney stones have all of these symptoms.
Urinary tract infection: Symptoms may be similar to those or kidney stones.
Any time you have blood in the urine or other symptoms of a urinary tract disease, call your health care provider. If you cannot get in touch with your provider or get an appointment that day, go to a hospital emergency department.
Any time you have the combination of blood in the urine, fever, and flank pain, you should seek emergency medical care, because this may represent a severe infection in your kidney.
Regardless of whether you have microscopic or gross hematuria, your health care provider will ask questions to try to discover the cause.
Laboratory tests: After the initial examination, laboratory and imaging studies may be performed.
Imaging: There are several ways to visualize the urinary system, including ultrasound of the kidneys, intravenous pyelography, and CT scan.
If stones and infection are ruled out, other tests are needed to look for less common causes of hematuria. Older people are at especially increased risk for more serious causes of blood in the urine. Anyone aged 40 years or older should have a workup to determine if cancer is present in the urinary system. This workup usually can be done on an outpatient basis.
Cystoscopy: This test is most likely to be performed by a specialist dealing with the urinary system (urologist).
Cytologic review: In this test, a pathologist examines a sample of urine for cells from the lower urinary tract.
If you have visible blood in your urine, do not attempt to treat yourself with home remedies. See a medical professional without delay.
If you have a urinary tract infection, you will take antibiotics for 3-14 days, depending on what part of the urinary tract is infected.
If you have kidney stones, be sure to drink plenty of liquids to help pass the stones and prevent other stones from forming. You may need to take pain relievers.
Many conditions can cause blood in the urine. Some of these have no medical significance and do not require treatment. They usually go away by themselves. Others can be serious and require immediate treatment. Treatment depends on the underlying cause of the bleeding.
Kidney stones: For most cases of kidney stones, you will be told to drink plenty of water and other fluids and to take pain relievers.
Urinary tract infection: Treatment seeks to get rid of the bacterium responsible for the infection, the second most common cause of hematuria. If you have no other significant illness, you will take a course of antibiotics for 3-14 days, depending on the source of the infection.
Benign prostate enlargement: Sometimes eliminating certain foods and medications that irritate the prostate can help shrink the prostate. Sometimes medication is necessary.
Medications: If a medication is causing hematuria, the medication should be stopped. Do not stop a medication without talking it over with your health care provider.
Urinary tract blockage: A blockage usually requires surgery or other procedure to correct or remove the block.
Injury: These may heal over time, or you may need surgery or another procedure to repair the injury or remove the damaged tissue.
Follow-up is very important if you have blood in your urine.
Men older than 50 years for whom no definite cause is found should have yearly screening for prostate cancer.
Prognosis depends on the cause of the bleeding. The prognosis for most people is good, because the most common causes of blood in the urine can be cured. People who are otherwise healthy can be treated on an outpatient basis.http://www.emedicinehealth.com/articles/8828-1.asp#
Hope that helps,