Seeing blood in your urine is an understandable cause for alarm. There are a wide variety of causes of hematuria (red blood cells in the urine) that range from minor to serious, but a doctor is needed to find the cause.
There are two types of hematuria—gross and microscopic. Gross hematuria is visible blood in the urine. It doesn’t take much blood to change the color of urine, and the colors range from pink to dark brown. Microscopic hematuria is found only in lab tests and, just as the name indicates, the blood is not visible to the naked eye. Unfortunately, there are often no other symptoms accompanying the hematuria. If your urine appears red, you should definitely see your doctor.
How Is Urine Produced?
The urinary tract is an amazing system. Blood is filtered in the kidneys where unwanted waste is removed, then balances salts and other necessary components in the bloodstream, and results in a liquid we call urine. The urine then passes through the ureters (tubes connecting the kidneys to the bladder) and is stored in the bladder. During the process of urination, the urine leaves the bladder through the urethra. The best ways to help your urinary tract function at its best is to drink plenty of water every day, avoid excess salt, urinate after intercourse, and avoid smoking.
What Can Cause Hematuria?
If you have eaten more than your fair share of beets or taken a laxative containing senna, your urine may be pink, but a trained eye is needed to tell this naturally occurring colorant from blood. Other medical causes include a urinary tract infection, enlarged prostate in men, kidney stones, certain medications, cancer, and kidney disease.
Given the wide range of potential causes, a urologist will need to oversee testing in order to get the right diagnosis quickly. The testing may include a complete medical history, a physical exam, urinalysis, blood work, and a CT scan if needed. A cystoscope may also be ordered so that the doctor can examine the inside of the bladder and urethra. Treatment will depend on the findings of the tests. Your doctor will explain the diagnosis and outline a treatment plan based on your individual needs.
Remember, blood in the urine is not always visible to the eye. You should seek emergency help if the blood in your urine is accompanied by fever, chills, nausea, vomiting, and/or pain in your side, back, or abdomen.
Do I Need To See A Urologist?
No matter what the cause of your hematuria, a trip to the urologist is necessary any time you notice blood or have any of the other symptoms described above. A urologist is a specially trained physician whose post medical school training is extensive. There is no need to feel uncomfortable discussing your symptoms. If you are having symptoms or have questions, make an appointment with Mississippi Urology Clinic today. We provide comprehensive care, compassionately delivered.