Conditions & Treatments

Hematuria

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OVERVIEW

Hematuria is a medical term that refers to the presence of blood in the urine. It can vary in severity, ranging from microscopic hematuria, where blood is only detectable under a microscope, to gross hematuria, where blood is visible to the naked eye, giving the urine a pink, red, or brownish color. Hematuria can be a sign of an underlying medical condition and should be evaluated by a healthcare professional.

At the University of Kansas Department of Urology, we specialize in advanced care and personalized treatment plans. Our experienced urologists diagnose and treat hematuria and various urinary conditions using the best in cutting-edge technology. We’re committed to your well-being and offer compassionate care to improve your quality of life.

Types of Hematuria

  • Microscopic Hematuria: In this type, the blood in the urine is not visible to the naked eye and can only be detected through a urinalysis or other laboratory tests.
  • Gross Hematuria: This type of hematuria is characterized by visible blood in the urine, which can range from pink to red or brown in color.

SYMPTOMS & CAUSES

Symptoms

  • Blood in Urine: The most common and obvious symptom is the presence of blood in the urine.
  • Changes in Urine Color: Urine may appear pink, red, or brownish in color when blood is present.
  • Pain or Discomfort: Hematuria can be associated with pain or discomfort in the urinary tract, such as in the bladder or kidneys.
  • Frequent Urination: Some individuals with hematuria may experience an increased urge to urinate more frequently.
  • Fever or Chills: In cases where hematuria is caused by an infection, fever and chills may also be present.
  • Menstruation: During menstruation, it’s possible to notice traces of blood in your urine. This can occur because menstrual blood might mix with urine during the process of excretion, leading to a visible change in the color or appearance of the urine while you’re on your period.

Causes

  • Urinary Tract Infections (UTIs): Infections of the urinary tract, such as cystitis (bladder infection) or pyelonephritis (kidney infection), can lead to hematuria.
  • Kidney Stones: The passage of kidney stones through the urinary tract can cause irritation and bleeding, leading to hematuria.
  • Injury or Trauma: Blunt trauma to the kidneys or other parts of the urinary tract can result in hematuria.
  • Urinary Tract Obstruction: Blockages in the urinary tract, such as tumors or enlarged prostate glands, can cause hematuria.
  • Medications: Some medications, like certain blood thinners or pain relievers, can lead to hematuria as a side effect.
  • Kidney Diseases: Conditions like glomerulonephritis or polycystic kidney disease can cause blood to leak into the urine.
  • Cancer: Various types of cancer, including bladder, kidney, or prostate cancer, can result in hematuria as a symptom.
  • Strenuous Exercise: In some cases, intense physical activity, such as long-distance running, can lead to hematuria, known as “jogger’s hematuria.”

It’s essential to seek medical attention if you experience hematuria, as it can be a sign of a serious underlying condition. A healthcare provider will perform a thorough evaluation, including medical history, physical examination, and diagnostic tests, to determine the cause and appropriate treatment for hematuria.

DIAGNOSIS & SCREENING

  • Medical History: The initial step in diagnosing hematuria involves taking a detailed medical history. The healthcare provider will ask about your symptoms, medications, previous medical conditions, and any relevant family history.
  • Physical Examination: A physical examination may be performed to check for signs of injury or underlying medical conditions that could be causing hematuria.
  • Urinalysis: A urinalysis is a common diagnostic test used to detect the presence of blood in the urine. It can also provide information about the possible cause of hematuria.
  • Imaging Studies: Depending on the suspected cause, various imaging studies may be ordered. These can include:
    • Ultrasound: To visualize the kidneys, bladder, and other urinary structures.
    • CT Scan: To get detailed images of the urinary tract, including the kidneys and ureters.
    • Cystoscopy: A procedure in which a thin, flexible tube with a camera (cystoscope) is inserted into the bladder to examine the urethra and bladder lining.
  • Blood Tests: Blood tests may be conducted to check kidney function, as well as to identify underlying conditions that could be related to hematuria.

TREATMENTS

The treatment for hematuria depends on the underlying cause:

  • Infections: If hematuria is due to a urinary tract infection, antibiotics are typically prescribed to treat the infection.
  • Kidney Stones: Treatment for kidney stones may involve pain management, hydration, and in some cases, procedures to remove or break up the stones.
  • Trauma or Injury: Trauma-related hematuria may require rest and supportive care, along with addressing any associated injuries.
  • Underlying Medical Conditions: If a specific medical condition is identified, such as kidney disease or cancer, treatment will be tailored to manage or address that condition. This may involve surgery, chemotherapy, radiation therapy, or other treatments as appropriate.
  • Medication Adjustments: In some cases, if medication side effects are causing hematuria, a healthcare provider may adjust or change the medication.
  • Lifestyle Modifications: Individuals with hematuria may be advised to make certain lifestyle changes, such as increasing fluid intake or avoiding strenuous activities in the case of exercise-induced hematuria.

OUTLOOK & PROGNOSIS

The outlook and prognosis for hematuria depends on its underlying cause and how promptly it is diagnosed and treated. In many cases, hematuria is a symptom of a treatable condition, and with appropriate management, individuals can recover fully. However, in cases where hematuria is due to serious conditions such as advanced cancer, the prognosis may be less favorable.

Prevention & Management

Prevention:

Preventing hematuria often involves addressing the underlying causes or risk factors. Some general tips for prevention include:

  • Staying well-hydrated to reduce the risk of kidney stones and urinary tract infections
  • Practicing safe sex to lower the risk of sexually transmitted infections
  • Avoiding excessive or strenuous physical activity that may lead to exercise-induced hematuria
  • Seeking prompt treatment for urinary tract infections to prevent complications

Management:

Management of hematuria focuses on treating the underlying condition. This may involve:

  • Adhering to prescribed medications, such as antibiotics for infections or medications to manage kidney disease
  • Lifestyle changes, such as dietary modifications to prevent kidney stones or avoiding irritants that worsen hematuria
  • Regular monitoring and follow-up appointments with healthcare providers to track progress and adjust treatment as needed
  • In cases of serious conditions like cancer, a comprehensive treatment plan may involve surgery, chemotherapy, radiation therapy, and ongoing medical care

CONCLUSION

Hematuria is a concerning symptom that warrants medical evaluation to identify its underlying cause and appropriate treatment. While it can be a sign of a range of conditions, many of them are treatable, especially when detected early. Timely diagnosis and intervention are crucial to improving the prognosis and ensuring the best possible outcome for individuals with hematuria.

It’s essential to consult with a healthcare provider if you experience any signs of hematuria or related symptoms to receive a proper diagnosis and personalized care. Prevention measures, when applicable, can also help reduce the risk of hematuria and associated health complications.

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