Blood in Urine Chattanooga, TN
Blood in Urine or Hematuria
Seeing blood in your urine can be quite alarming. It is also a very common problem that most urologist see on a daily basis. Blood in the urine is commonly referred to as hematuria and there are multiple types of hematuria. In general, hematuria means red blood cells are found in the urine. If your urine appears red from blood, then you have gross hematuria. If a medical provider tells you that you have red blood cells in your urine after it was tested, then you likely have microscopic or significant hematuria. Regardless, blood in the urine is usually a symptom a urinary tract abnormality.
Interestingly, most times people have hematuria they don’t have any other symptoms. But by itself can represent a serious problem, and should be evaluated even if the bleeding has stopped. This is especially true if you are over the age of 35 or have a risk factor for urologic cancers like tobacco use or obesity. Your primary care doctor can help diagnose a UTI or kidney stone which may cause hematuria, but a referral to a urologist may be necessary, or making the appointment yourself for a full evaluation is usually necessary.
Common symptoms associated with blood in the urine
- lower abdominal pain
- fever and chills
- urinary symptoms suggesting infection
- flank pain suggesting kidney stones
- burning on urination suggesting infection.
What can cause blood in the urine?
Various conditions can cause blood in the urine, including:
- UTI – urinary tract infection
- Bladder infection (cystitis)
- Kidney or bladder stones
- Kidney disease – related to diabetes, viral infections, strep infections, blood vessel diseases
- Inflammation of the urethra due to sexually transmitted diseases or urethral stricture
- Kidney, ureteral, bladder, prostate or urethral cancer
- Enlarged prostate aka BPH
- Prostate infection (prostatitis)
- Vigorous exercise and trauma
- Inherited disorders and some medications like blood thinners can cause blood in the urine
Who is at risk for hematuria?
Factors that may increase the risk of hematuria include:
- a history of smoking tobacco
- occupational exposure to chemicals or dyes
- a history of voiding symptoms
- men over the age of 50 who are at risk for an enlarged prostate
- women who have urinary tract infections
- a recent infection
- people with kidney disease or kidney stones, or those with a family history of them
- the use of aspirin or NSAIDS and antibiotics
How is it diagnosed?
Your urologist will conduct a clinical evaluation consisting of a review of your medical history, perform a physical examination, check your blood pressure and test a urine sample (urinalysis). Men may also receive a digital rectal exam to detect any abnormalities in the prostate. Women may receive a vaginal examination.
Your urologist may perform various tests to determine the cause of the blood, including a CT(CAT) scan, urine cytology and/or cystoscopy(camera placed inside your bladder). A prostate PSA blood test may be indicated to screen for prostate cancer. This is especially important for men over age 50. If you have hypertension this may indicate a problem with your kidneys. Your urologist will monitor your blood pressure and may recommend referral to a Nephrologist if medical disease of the kidney is suspected.
In some cases, the cause is not found. Most importantly the conditions that can cause serious health risk such as cancer of the urinary tract will be excluded during the evaluation. Nevertheless, your urologist will most likely recommend follow-up with repeat urinalysis, microscopic examination of the urine, and blood tests to check kidney function even if no exact reason is identifitied.
How is it treated?
Since blood in the urine is usually a symptom of something else, treatment depends on the underlying cause of the problem. Treatment options for kidney stones, and BPH, among others are discussed in separate articles in our collection.
Dr Shridharani is a regional leader in Men’s Health and general urology, providing care to the people of Chattanooga, Tennessee, Alabama and Northern Georgia. We excel at managing any and all of your urologic issues with care, compassion and excellence.