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Haematuria - blood in the urine

Haematuria is a urological condition that means you have visible blood in your urine. If you notice blood in your urine, then it is important that you get it investigated, even if it is a one off. Haematuria is most commonly caused by a urine infection (cystitis), however it can sometimes occur as a result of bladder cancer; so must not be ignored.

Other causes include:

  • Kidney or bladder stones

  • Inflammation of the kidneys (nephritis),

  • Injury to the urinary tract

  • Blood disorders (such as sickle cell)

  • Less commonly infections such as TB

50% of patients that have visible blood in their urine will have an underlying cause identified, however, with non-visible blood, only around 10% of patients will have the cause identified.


The appearance of blood in your urine can sometimes be mistaken for something else. You may not have blood in your urine after all.

  • You may be taking a new medication that turns your urine red or brown (this is a side-effect of some medications)

  • You have recently eaten beetroot, and this has turned your urine pink

  • You are on your period

  • You are bleeding from your bottom instead (this should also be investigated)

Symptoms

Blood in your urine can be bright pink, red or dark brown, and sometimes it is not even visible. Depending on the cause of haematuria, the symptoms that come with it can differ. For example, if you have a burning sensation when urinating, urgency to urinate, smelly urine, a high temperature and pain in your lower back then this may indicate a urinary tract infection (UTI). If you are experiencing pain in your sides, lower back or groin that comes and goes, with nausea then this can suggest that you have a kidney infection or kidney stones.

Diagnosis and treatment

Your consultant will talk through your medical history and the symptoms that you have been experiencing. A test called a urinalysis will be done initially to check for any infections. If the haematuria is caused an infection, this can be treated with a course of antibiotics. If there is no sign of infection then it is likely that you will have more tests including:

  • A physical examination (including rectal or vaginal examination)

  • Examination of your urine, to check for cancerous cells

  • Ultrasound or CT scan

  • Intravenous urogram (IVU)

  • Cystoscopy (telescopic check of the bladder)

If any abnormalities are detected, a suitable treatment plan will be picked out for your individual case. If no abnormalities are found and no treatment is needed, it is important that you report any further bleeding or symptoms to your consultant.

This article is intended to inform and give insight but not treat, diagnose or replace the advice of a doctor. Always seek medical advice with any questions regarding a medical condition

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