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The medical term for blood in your urine is hematuria. Most of the time, the cause of hematuria is not serious. However, blood in the urine should not be ignored because occasionally it can be a sign of a serious problem such as a stone or tumor. Hematuria should usually be evaluated to identify the cause of the bleeding and treat it if necessary.

Two Types of Hematuria

Gross hematuria means that the blood can be seen by the naked eye. The urine may look pinkish, brownish, or bright red.

Microscopic hematuria means that the urine is clear, but blood cells can be seen when urine is looked at under a microscope or tested in a lab.

Both gross and microscopic hematuria can have the same causes, and neither one is necessarily more serious than the other. Along with either type, you may notice other symptoms, such as pain, pressure, or burning when you urinate, abdominal pain, or back pain. Sometimes, you may not notice any other symptoms. In either case, unless you have had an evaluation recently, an evaluation needs to be done.

Finding the Cause of Hematuria

To evaluate your condition, your doctor will first confirm that blood is indeed present. Then your doctor will decide which tests will best determine the cause of your hematuria. Some common tests are listed below:

  • Lab tests which may include urinalysis, urine culture, urine cytology, and other blood tests
  • Cystoscopy (Looking inside the bladder and urethra with a thin scope)

Other tests may include:

  • Computed tomography (CT or CAT) scan of the upper and lower urinary tract including the kidneys and ureters
  • Ultrasound of the kidneys

Once all the evaluations are complete, your doctor will discuss the findings and any treatment – if necessary. Most of the time, there are no concerning findings and you and your doctors can disregard the blood in the urine in the future.


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