What is urinary bleeding?

The passage of blood during urination is a common condition known as urinary bleeding or hematuria. People can experience urinary bleeding for a variety of reasons that can be medical or behavioral in nature. As there is no single, established treatment for hematuria, treatment depends on the underlying cause of the urinary bleeding.

There are two presentations associated with urinary bleeding. Microscopic hematuria is the passage of blood into the urine that is invisible to the naked eye. Only detectable under a microscope, this form of hematuria can be detected during routine tests or evaluations for secondary conditions. Urinary bleeding that is visible is known as gross hematuria.

Several factors can contribute to the passage of blood during urination. The urinary tract is made up of several organs, including the bladder, kidneys, and urethra. A hematuria occurs when blood cells are allowed to pass into the urine that is expelled through the urethra. Any of the organs associated with the production, storage, or passage of urine can leak blood cells.

Urinary tract infections are the most common condition associated with the development of hematuria. Additional conditions such as kidney disease, cancer, and an enlarged prostate can contribute to the development of hematuria. Common problems that affect the kidneys, such as stones and bacterial infections such as pyelonephritis, can also cause urinary bleeding. Regular use of certain over-the-counter and prescription medications, such as aspirin and penicillin, can contribute to the passage of blood. Strenuous exercise, consumption of certain foods, and injury to the kidney region can also cause severe hematuria.

People with urinary bleeding may have red, pink, or brown urine. The dark color of urine is due to the presence of filtered blood cells. In general, symptomatic individuals do not experience pain and have no other symptoms. Although, in cases where blood clots develop, people may experience some pain when the clots pass into the urine. Although some cases of hematuria may be temporary and benign in nature, medical consultation and testing should be sought as a precautionary measure for persistent symptoms.

There are several diagnostic tests that may be performed in addition to a physical exam to determine the underlying cause of a hematuria. A urinalysis may be done to check for signs of infection or mineral markers indicative of the presence of kidney or bladder stones. Imaging tests, such as computed tomography (CT), magnetic resonance imaging (MRI), and ultrasound, may be done to assess the condition of the bladder and kidneys. In some cases, a cystoscopy may be necessary to more closely evaluate the urethra and bladder. Sometimes the cause of a hematuria can be elusive, requiring regular monitoring and regular testing.

The treatment for a hematuria depends entirely on its underlying cause. The use of antibiotics and anti-inflammatory medications may be necessary in the presence of a urinary tract infection or kidney disease. Other conditions, such as cancer and hereditary disorders, may require extensive treatment that may include the use of drug therapies, surgery, and blood transfusions.

Although hematuria can affect anyone of any age, there are some people who may be at higher risk for this condition. People who are recovering from a kidney infection, who take certain prescription medications, or who have a family history of kidney stones or disease may be more likely to have symptoms. Additionally, those who participate in contact sports or regularly adhere to a strenuous exercise regimen may increase their risk of developing hematuria due to injury or exertion. Drinking plenty of water, maintaining a healthy body weight, and eating a healthy, balanced diet can reduce your risk of developing conditions that can contribute to the development of hematuria. Quitting smoking, staying active, and avoiding environments that encourage exposure to toxic chemicals can also reduce your risk of developing conditions that can lead to urinary bleeding.

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