The presence of blood in a person’s urine is known as hematuria. Hematuria can be either gross or microscopic.
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Types of Hematuria
The two main types of hematuria are:
1. Gross Hematuria
When the blood in the urine can be easily seen with the naked eye, it is referred to as gross hematuria. It can change the color of toilet water from pale pink to red.
2. Microscopic Hematuria
It occurs when a small amount of blood is in the urine, which can only be detected under a microscope.
Causes of Hematuria
There are different factors responsible for causing hematuria:
One of the most common reasons for hematuria is infection. It’s possible that the infection is in your urinary system, bladder, or kidneys. When germs travel up the urethra (the tube that transports urine from the bladder out of the body) it results in infection. The infection has the potential to spread to the bladder or even kidneys. It typically causes pain and necessitates frequent urination.
2. Prostate enlargement
An enlarged prostate is a common cause of hematuria in middle-aged men. This gland is located near the urethra, directly beneath the bladder. The urethra is compressed when the prostate grows larger, which happens mostly in older men. This makes it difficult to urinate and may prevent the bladder from entirely emptying. A urinary tract infection (UTI) with blood in the urine can result from this.
The presence of stones in the bladder or kidney is another common cause of blood in the urine. These are crystals that form in your urine due to the minerals in it. They may develop inside the kidneys or the bladder. Large stones can produce an obstruction, which can lead to hematuria and severe pain.
4. Kidney disease
Hematuria can be caused by a damaged or irritated kidney. This condition can arise on its own or in conjunction with another illness, such as diabetes.
Hematuria can be caused by the kidney condition post-streptococcal glomerulonephritis in children aged 6 to 10. This condition can develop approximately two weeks after an untreated strep infection. However, it’s rare nowadays as antibiotics can rapidly treat strep infections.
Blood in the urine can be caused by bladder, kidney, or prostate cancer. This is a symptom that frequently arises in patients with advanced cancer.
Some drugs can also trigger hematuria. These include penicillin, aspirin, blood thinners such as heparin and warfarin (Coumadin), and cyclophosphamide, a cancer treatment medicine.
There are a few less frequent reasons for hematuria to consider. Blood in the urine can be caused by rare blood illnesses such as sickle cell anemia, Alport syndrome, and hemophilia. Blood in the urine can also be caused by vigorous exercise or a blow to the kidneys.
Treatment for Hematuria
The source of your hematuria will determine the type of treatment you receive.
If your hematuria is caused by an infection, such as a urinary tract infection (UTI), your doctor will prescribe medications to destroy the bacteria causing the infection.
Hematuria caused by big kidney stones can be painful if left untreated. You can pass stones with the help of prescription drugs and therapies. Your doctor may recommend extracorporeal shock wave lithotripsy (ESWL). Your doctor may also use a scope to remove kidney stones by your doctor.
They do this by inserting a narrow tube called a ureteroscope into your ureter through your urethra and bladder. A camera is built within the scope to help locate the stones. Your doctor will use special equipment to trap the stones and remove them. Large stones are broken down before removal.
If an enlarged prostate triggers your hematuria, your doctor might advise you to take medicine such as alpha-blockers or 5-alpha reductase inhibitors. In some cases, surgery is advised by the doctor.
Reasons for blood in urine can sometimes be severe, so it’s better to seek medical help from a Urologist as soon as possible.