Hematuria refers to the presence of blood in your urine, which can be caused by a variety of reasons ranging from simple infections to rare blood disorders. The blood may also be visible to the naked eye or in such small quantities that may require a microscope to be observed. While the condition is fairly common, especially among patients suffering from a urinary tract infection (UTI), persistent cases of hematuria should not be ignored. It is important to familiarize yourself with the risk factors and causes of hematuria so you can understand how to deal with it.
What you need to know about hematuria
Hematuria can occur when certain parts of the urinary tract, including the kidneys, bladder and the ureters, become irritated or damaged. There are two main types of hematuria: microscopic and gross. As the name implies, microscopic hematuria refers to the type of hematuria where the amount of blood is so minuscule that only laboratory testing can detect it. On the other hand, gross hematuria refers to the type where there is enough blood in the urine for it to appear pink or even red.
There are many causes of hematuria. In some rare cases, the blood may not even come from your urinary tract, but from an entirely different source. However, if you are certain that blood is definitely in your urine, here are the potential causes:
- Urinary tract infection. Infection, especially one in the urinary tract, is one of the most common and, though uncomfortable, least concerning causes of hematuria. This usually occurs when bacteria start moving up the urethra, the tube that brings urine out of the body from the bladder. If left unchecked, the infection can spread to your bladder and even your kidneys, causing you to urinate frequently and experience pain. (Related: Avoid UTI altogether by drinking an extra six glasses of water a day.)
- Enlarged prostate. Men who are middle-aged or older are at risk of developing an enlarged prostate, which can also cause hematuria. When the prostate enlarges, it compresses the urethra, making it significantly more difficult to urinate. This can lead to developing a UTI or be a precursor to prostate cancer.
- Cancer. Other than prostate cancer, cancer in the bladder and kidneys can also cause blood to appear in the urine.
- Kidney stones. Another common reason for blood in the urine is the presence of kidney stones. These so-called stones are crystals formed from the minerals found in urine. These can then cause blockage in your urinary tract, often resulting in hematuria and pain.
- Injury. When you perform vigorous exercise, you run the risk of slightly damaging part of the urinary tract.
- Inherited diseases. You can also develop certain diseases that are passed down genetically, like cystic kidney disease, which also includes hematuria as a symptom.
Knowing what things could lead to an increased risk of developing hematuria can help relieve the panic and concern that usually accompanies anyone’s first encounter with the condition. Below you can find a list of risk factors that lead to a much higher risk of experiencing blood in the urine:
- Exercise. As mundane as it is, exercise can actually increase your risk of hematuria, especially among people who perform strenuous exercises regularly.
- Family history. For those who have a notorious family history of having either kidney disease or kidney stones, the risk of experiencing hematuria is much higher.
- Age. It is common for men over fifty, especially those prone to an enlarged prostate, to develop hematuria.
- Medication. Some common medications like antibiotics, aspirin and anti-inflammatories can potentially cause hematuria.
- Recent infections. If you have recently experienced a viral or even bacterial infection, it is possible for blood to appear in your urine due to continued inflammation in the kidneys.
Any form of blood found in the urine can be a sign of a serious health problem. Even if you’re aware of the risk factors, ignoring hematuria can lead to much worse conditions like kidney disease. Because of this, it is vital to consult with a healthcare professional as soon as possible. Visit Infections.news for more information on UTIs.