What are Causes of Hematuria?

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  • Written By: Michael Pollick
  • Edited By: Niki Foster
  • Last Modified Date: 14 August 2018
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Hematuria is the medical term for blood in the urine, specifically an excessive number of red blood cells. Sometimes, the amount of blood is so small that it can only be detected through a microscope. This condition is referred to as microscopic hematuria. If the urine contains visible streaks of blood, medical professionals call the condition gross hematuria. Either variety is cause for concern, however.

There are a number of causes of blood in the urine, ranging in seriousness from cancer to the minor trauma of excessive exercise. Some people live their entire lives with mild cases and are not aware of it. Others develop the issue as a result of prescription blood thinners or other medications. Hematuria is often one of many conditions created by a traumatic injury to the urinary tract, which includes the adrenal glands, kidneys, ureters, bladder, prostate gland and urethra. A sharp blow to the kidneys, for example, can cause blood to enter the bladder.

One of the most common causes is kidney disease. Kidney stones can cause tiny ruptures in the tissues of the urinary tract as they pass through the ureters and into the bladder. Cancerous tumors located in the kidneys can also cause bleeding as cells are sloughed off. Inflammations of the kidney caused by viral infections or bacteria can cause blood to enter the urine as well.


Another cause of hematuria is connected with bladder health. The bladder can also form stones, which cause blockage of the urinary tract and tears in the bladder walls. A serious urinary tract infection can also cause bleeding in the bladder. There is also the possibility of the problem developing after cancer has developed in the bladder itself.

For men, another cause may be prostate trouble. As men age, the prostate gland enlarges and occasionally interferes with the natural flow of urine. The added strain of urinating through a narrowed urethra can cause blood vessels to rupture, leading to bleeding.

Other possible causes include sickle cell anemia and excessive exercise, especially jogging and running. The stresses placed on the lower abdomen during strenuous exercise can cause a number of blood vessels to rupture or present actual physical trauma to the kidneys or bladder. Some medical professionals call this phenomenon jogger's hematuria.

Fortunately, many incidents of blood in the urine are not considered life-threatening. Excessive blood is not necessarily dangerous in and of itself, but it does indicate a potentially serious condition. When medical professionals test the urine for the presence of blood, they consider a positive result to be a symptom of a larger problem.

Patients diagnosed with this issue may have to undergo more invasive tests, such as an intravenous pyelogram (IVP). During an IVP, a dye is injected into the bloodstream just before the urinary tract area is X-rayed. Any excessive bleeding should be apparent on the film, along with any other abnormalities affecting the flow of blood or urine.


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Post 6

I had the camera in my bladder. It was filled with fluid and then the doctor started to see the blood vessels bursting in the wall of my bladder. He said it was odd. I just wish I didn't have to wait a month for the next consultation. Cheers, Lady Di in Canada

Post 5

I am a 14 year old girl. For the last week or so, I've occasionally been having blood streaks in my pants, accompanied by a wetness. (I have a cold, and when I cough, urine involuntarily trickles out.) I first suspected I was on my period, but one, I had just had it; and two, this only happens occasionally. I've also noticed that sometimes, my lower abdomen cramps up when I use the bathroom. This may be unrelated, but I've also been having pain in my upper right side for the last year or so, which is progressively growing worse. Thank you for your help.

Post 4

Last year my nine year old daughter called me in to the bathroom, scared out of her wits. Her urine looked like it had blood in it, but there was none on the toilet paper. The pediatrician said it was possible she was having early onset of her period. She did a urinalysis that came back negative for any blood.

After a lot of head scratching, it turned out it was because of the fava beans she’d been eating a lot of! I didn’t know, but some foods can make urine look blood tinged.

Post 3

@ dehnha - I was wondering something along those lines. I was thinking - how can a doctor tell if a small amount of blood is menstrual or from some kidney problem? Isn’t blood just blood? They must have some way of testing.

Post 2

My mother and other women her age have told me how when they were teenage girls, they were not told much about what menstrual periods involved. This led to many young girls thinking they had hematuria, and therefore something really bad, when they were just reaching puberty. I'm glad I was made aware of the difference before it happened to me.

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