Blood in the urine is not always indicative of a serious issue, but it is a sign to see a doctor, to make sure. Hematuria is the medical term for bloody urine, and a variety of factors can lead to this event.
There are two types of hematuria. Gross hematuria occurs when the naked eye can see that blood is present in the urine. A patient is diagnosed with microscopic hematuria if blood can only be seen in the urine only with a microscope.
The only true symptom of hematuria is blood in the urine, which may or may not be visible to the individual. However, the condition causing hematuria will usually cause other symptoms, as well. Some of the most common include painful urination or having to urinate frequently; these are often associated with a urinary tract infection. If hematuria is the symptom of a kidney stone, one might experience moderate to severe abdominal or flank pain. It is possible that these will be the only symptoms.
Hematuria occurs when the kidneys or another part of the urinary tract (like the bladder or urethra) allows blood cells to release into the urine. Various factors can cause this event, and the most likely include:
Though not all reasons for hematuria are serious, it is important to contact a doctor when one notices this symptom. Many causes will not require further care and will eventually go away on their own. In the case that it is something more serious, seeing a doctor can allow for early detection and diagnosis of the cause, which means prompt treatment and a better prognosis.
Multiple tests can determine why there is blood in the urine. The doctor will select the method best suited to the patient, based on the type of hematuria and their other symptoms.
If blood in the urine is caused by a temporary, minor problem such as medication, an individual may not require medical care. However, other causes of hematuria do require specific treatment. Doctors prescribe antibiotics for urinary tract infections, and some people with kidney stones require the intervention of a urologist. Lithotripsy or ureteroscopy are two treatments for kidney stones. If hematuria reveals cancer or another serious condition, a doctor will employ various therapies based on the type and stage of the disease.
Most causes of hematuria have a good prognosis. Medications or minor injuries that cause blood in the urine often clear up on their own. Likewise, urinary tract infections and kidney stones are temporary ailments, although they do require treatment. The earlier a doctor detects cancer or kidney disease, the better the prognosis.
When hematuria is the result of an enlarged prostate or blood disease, preventing it can be difficult. People can help prevent urinary tract infections by keeping well hydrated and adopting certain habits such as urinating immediately after intercourse. Controlling blood sugar, eating healthy, and exercising regularly can help prevent some kidney diseases. Speak to a doctor about other ways to avoid developing hematuria.
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