Urine is the way your body excretes excess fluids and waste products from your body. Usually, urine is pale yellow and clear. However, certain conditions may cause your urine to be cloudy, pink, or red, usually from blood.
If you're experiencing blood in your urine or hematuria, the team at Metro Renal Associates in Washington, DC, and Capitol Heights, Maryland can help. Dr. Kevin Griffiths, Dr. Oyije Susannah Iheagwara, and Dr. Cosette Jamieson are our three experienced nephrologists who get to the bottom of the blood in your urine through diagnostic testing.
What is hematuria?
Blood in your urine, or hematuria, is a condition marked by red blood cells in your urine. It isn't always indicative of a severe medical condition.
There are several forms of hematuria. Gross hematuria means that there are enough red blood cells in your urine to turn it pink or red. The toilet water appears bloody when you have gross hematuria.
Microscopic hematuria happens when there are not enough red blood cells to make your urine change color. The blood in the urine is too tiny to see with the human eye. Still, our team can see it under a microscope.
Hematuria has many causes, not all of which are severe health conditions. For example, you may notice blood in your urine during your period even though your menstrual cycle isn't at all related to your urinary tract.
However, seeing blood in the toilet can be scary, so it’s important to seek treatment if you're unsure what's causing hematuria.
Is blood in your urine dangerous?
While it's alarming to see blood in your urine, it's not always a sign of danger. There are several causes of hematuria that are unrelated to your urinary system, including:
- Vigorous exercise
- Rough intercourse
- An injury during sports
- Having your menstrual cycle
These conditions typically cause transient hematuria and resolve independently or with lifestyle changes and treatment.
There are, however, other more severe causes of hematuria that you shouldn't ignore. Kidney stones and urinary tract infections are mild causes of hematuria that often require treatment. Other severe causes of blood in your urine include the following:
- Cancer of your bladder or kidneys
- Polycystic kidney disease
- Sickle cell disease or other blood disorders
- Blood clots or clotting disorders
- Hepatitis and other viral conditions
Men can also experience hematuria due to an enlarged prostate or a prostate gland infection. Generally, you need an expert diagnosis and a urinalysis to tell what's causing hematuria.
When to seek help for hematuria
Anytime you're experiencing hematuria with an unknown cause, it’s essential to seek help from the Metro Renal Associates team. While many cases of hematuria aren't life-threatening, it's still an abnormal finding that requires treatment.
If you have blood in your urine, we evaluate your symptoms and health during a physical exam. Our team asks you when the hematuria started and whether you remember an injury or other symptoms related to your urinary tract.
We ask you to give a urine sample for a urinalysis, which allows us to see how much blood is in your urine and if there are other cells, such as white blood cells, in there.
We may also order imaging studies or other bloodwork to get to the bottom of the problem. If extreme exercise or rough intercourse is causing your hematuria, it will resolve itself after you refrain from these activities for a few days.
However, if a more severe condition causes it, the Metro Renal Associates team treats the underlying cause to eliminate your hematuria.
If you're experiencing blood in your urine, don't hesitate to call one of our offices today. You can also send the team a message using our convenient online tool.