When to Worry About Blood in Your Urine

You go to the bathroom and, before you flush, you notice that there’s an odd coloring to your urine — one that looks suspiciously like there’s blood mixed in. And you’re understandably worried.

Our team here at Arizona Urology understands the many reasons behind this development, which is medically known as hematuria. In some cases, the causes of urine in your blood are minor while, in others, it’s a sign of a serious problem.

In the following, we explore a few of the more common reasons why there may be blood in your urine.

Recognizing blood in your urine

It doesn’t take much blood to cause noticeable discoloration in your urine, which we call gross hematuria. From a pinkish tinge to make-no-mistake-about-it red, it’s clear that something is mixing in with your urine and causing the color change.

In most cases, the culprit is blood, but there are times when you can eat excess amounts of colored foods that can change the color of your urine, including beets, rhubarb, and berries. In these instances, your urine should change back to its normal hue quite quickly.

If, however, your urine doesn’t clear after a day or two, it’s time for a closer look.

Injury

If you sustain an injury to your kidney, such as a blow, you may notice blood in your urine for a few days afterward. If the blood persists, and it’s accompanied by pain in your lower back, we advise you to come see us so that we can assess whether there’s any serious damage to your kidneys.

Medications

Certain medications can also lead to blood in your urine, such as penicillin, aspirin, blood thinners, and cyclophosphamide (a drug used to treat certain types of cancer).

Urinary tract infections (UTIs) and enlarged prostates

Women experience UTIs far more frequently than men, and one of the common side effects is blood in your urine. This symptom is often accompanied by painful urination, a frequent urge to urinate, and strong-smelling urine.

Men with enlarged prostates are also more prone to UTIs and blood in their urine. This occurs when your prostate presses up against your urethra, which prevents your bladder from voiding completely. 

If we diagnose a UTI, the good news is that a quick course of antibiotics can usually clear the infection in a matter of days.

Kidney infection

A kidney infection (pyelonephritis) often starts as a UTI. If we’re not able to treat the UTI promptly, bacteria can make their way into your kidneys, which can damage these organs and/or cause a much wider-spread infection in your body. The symptoms of a kidney infection are much the same as a UTI, except people often develop a fever and pain in their lower backs and flanks.

Here again, antibiotics go a long way toward clearing up the infection.

Bladder and kidney stones

If you have stones in your bladder or kidneys, it can lead to blood in your urine. The symptoms of kidney and bladder stones depend upon whether the stones are trying to pass through your urinary tract. If they are trying to exit, the pain is hard to ignore.

Kidney disease or kidney failure

One of the possible side effects of kidney disease (which can lead to kidney failure), is blood in your urine. There are many other symptoms of kidney disease, which range from nausea and vomiting to fatigue and shortness of breath. These symptoms are tough to ignore and can also be associated with other medical conditions, which is why prompt medical attention is important.

Cancer

If you develop cancer in your kidneys, bladder, or prostate, blood may find its way into your urine, though this typically occurs in the later stages of the disease.

The reality is that any unexplained presence of blood in your urine is a symptom you shouldn’t ignore. To get to the bottom of your hematuria, contact one of our locations in Goodyear, Glendale, Gilbert, or Phoenix, Arizona, to set up an appointment.

 

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