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(Blood in urine) Hematuria


Hematuria is a medical term used to describe the presence of blood in the urine. This condition can manifest in two forms:

  1. Gross Hematuria: This is when blood in the urine is visible to the naked eye. The urine may appear pink, red, or cola-colored due to the presence of red blood cells.

  2. Microscopic Hematuria: In this case, the blood in the urine is not visible to the naked eye but is detectable under a microscope during a urine examination.

What is hematuria


Causes And Risk Factors

Causes of Hematuria

  1. Urinary Tract Infections (UTIs): Bacteria entering the urinary system can lead to infections in the bladder or kidney, causing irritation and bleeding.

  2. Kidney Infections (Pyelonephritis): Infections reaching the kidneys from the bloodstream or through the ureters can lead to hematuria.

  3. Bladder or Kidney Stones: These can cause bleeding when they irritate the lining of the urinary tract or block the flow of urine.

  4. Enlarged Prostate (Benign Prostatic Hyperplasia): In men, an enlarged prostate can compress the urethra, affecting urine flow and causing blood in the urine.

  5. Kidney Disease: Conditions like glomerulonephritis, which involves inflammation of the kidney's filtering system, can lead to hematuria.

  6. Cancer: Bladder, kidney, and prostate cancers can cause bleeding that manifests as hematuria.

  7. Inherited Disorders: Diseases like sickle cell anemia or Alport syndrome can cause blood in the urine.

  8. Medications: Certain drugs, including blood thinners, aspirin, and some antibiotics, can cause hematuria as a side effect.

  9. Strenuous Exercise: Intense physical activity might lead to bladder trauma or dehydration, causing hematuria.

  10. Kidney Injury: Trauma to the kidneys from accidents or contact sports can result in visible blood in the urine.

Risk Factors for Hematuria

  1. Age: Older adults, especially men over 50 with an enlarged prostate, are more at risk.

  2. Infections: A history of frequent urinary tract infections increases the risk.

  3. Family History: A family history of kidney disease or stones can increase the likelihood of hematuria.

  4. Certain Medications: Long-term use of nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drugs (NSAIDs) and certain antibiotics increases the risk.

  5. Strenuous Exercise: Athletes, particularly long-distance runners, are at higher risk.

  6. Menstruation: Women may mistakenly think they have hematuria during menstruation.

  7. Smoking: Smoking is a risk factor for bladder and kidney cancer, which can cause hematuria.

  8. Exposure to Certain Chemicals: Regular exposure to certain dyes, chemicals, and toxins may increase the risk of kidney or bladder cancer.

Causes of Hematuria

Diagnostic Evaluation

The diagnostic evaluation of hematuria involves a series of steps to determine its underlying cause. It typically includes a combination of medical history assessment, physical examination, and diagnostic tests:
1. Medical History

  • Symptoms Inquiry: The doctor will ask about any additional symptoms like pain, frequency of urination, or any recent injuries.

  • Medical and Family History: Information about personal and family medical history, including any history of kidney disease, urinary tract infections, or stones.

  • Medication Review: Discussion about medications being taken, as some can cause hematuria.

  • Lifestyle Factors: Questions about exercise routines, smoking, and exposure to chemicals, as these can contribute to hematuria.

2. Physical Examination

  • Abdominal Exam: To check for tenderness or masses.

  • Pelvic Exam: In women, to evaluate for gynecological causes.

  • Rectal Exam: In men, to assess the prostate.

3. Urinalysis

  • Microscopic Examination: To confirm the presence of red blood cells and look for other abnormalities like white blood cells, crystals, or bacteria.

  • Dipstick Test: To detect blood and other substances in the urine.

4. Additional Tests
Depending on initial findings, further tests may be recommended:

  • Blood Tests: To assess kidney function and check for kidney disease.

  • Imaging Tests: Such as ultrasound, CT scan, or MRI to visualize the kidneys, bladder, and ureters.

  • Cystoscopy: A procedure where a thin scope is inserted into the bladder to directly visualize the bladder and urethra.

5. Specialized Tests
In some cases, more specific tests may be needed:

  • Urine Culture: To check for infection.

  • Urine Cytology: Examining urine cells under a microscope to look for cancer cells.

  • 24-Hour Urine Collection: To evaluate for certain kidney diseases.

The findings from these evaluations will guide the diagnosis and treatment plan. In some cases, if no serious cause is found and the hematuria resolves, the doctor may recommend regular monitoring without immediate treatment.

The approach to evaluating hematuria is systematic and tailored to the individual, considering their symptoms, history, and initial test results. It's crucial to identify the underlying cause to provide appropriate treatment and manage any potential complications.

Diagnosis of Hematuria


The treatment of hematuria depends on the underlying cause identified during the evaluation process. Here's an overview of how different causes of hematuria are typically addressed:
1. Urinary Tract Infections (UTIs)

  • Antibiotics: Prescribed to eliminate the bacterial infection.

  • Pain Relief: Medication to alleviate discomfort during urination.

2. Kidney Infections

  • Antibiotics: Often require a longer course than UTIs.

  • Hospitalization: In severe cases, for intravenous antibiotics and fluids.

3. Bladder or Kidney Stones

  • Pain Management: Medication to relieve pain.

  • Increased Fluid Intake: To help pass smaller stones.

  • Medical Procedures: Extracorporeal shock wave lithotripsy (ESWL) to break up larger stones, or surgery in more severe cases.

4. Enlarged Prostate

  • Medication: To reduce prostate size or relax bladder neck muscles.

  • Minimally Invasive Therapies: Such as transurethral resection of the prostate (TURP).

  • Lifestyle Changes: Limiting fluid intake at certain times, bladder training exercises.

5. Kidney Disease

  • Medications: To treat the specific type of kidney disease.

  • Dietary Changes: Reducing protein, sodium, and potassium intake.

  • Dialysis: In advanced cases.

6. Cancer (Bladder, Kidney, Prostate)

  • Surgery: To remove cancerous tissue.

  • Chemotherapy or Radiation: For cancer treatment.

  • Immunotherapy: In certain types of cancer.

7. Inherited Disorders

  • Specific Treatments: Depending on the disorder, such as medication for sickle cell anemia.

8. Medication-Induced Hematuria

  • Adjusting Medications: Under the guidance of a healthcare provider.

9. Strenuous Exercise

  • Rest and Hydration: Often recommended to resolve exercise-induced hematuria.

10. Trauma or Injury

  • Treatment of the Injury: Depending on severity, could include rest, surgery, or other interventions.

Supportive Care

  • Monitoring: Regular follow-up tests to monitor the condition.

  • Lifestyle Changes: Staying well-hydrated, reducing salt intake, and avoiding smoking.

The treatment for hematuria is highly individualized, based on the specific cause and overall health of the patient. It's important to follow the treatment plan recommended by a healthcare provider and attend all follow-up appointments to ensure the best outcome. In many cases, addressing the underlying cause of hematuria can resolve the symptom.

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