Serious Causes of Hematuria

Hematuria, or blood in your urine, can usually be explained by something that isn’t too alarming. But sometimes hematuria indicates a more serious underlying condition. That’s why it’s always a good idea to talk to your provider if you see blood in your urine.  

At Urological Associates in Charlottesville, Virginia, our team of urologists helps patients in central Virginia uncover the root cause of blood in the urine. We provide many urological services, including the diagnosis of and treatment for hematuria.  

Take a moment to learn more about hematuria and some of the more serious causes of this condition.  

What is hematuria?

Hematuria comes in two forms: gross hematuria and microscopic hematuria. Gross hematuria is a term used to describe visible blood in your urine. Microscopic hematuria refers to blood in the urine that can only be seen with the help of a microscope.

Since hematuria is a symptom of other conditions, it’s important to investigate further if you’re diagnosed with either type of hematuria.  

Why do I have hematuria?

There are many causes of hematuria. For most people, blood in the urine doesn’t indicate a serious condition. More often than not, the cause of hematuria is less alarming. 

Some of the most common causes of hematuria include things like using certain medications, sexual activity, having an STD or a virus, having an infection (like a bladder or urinary tract infection), vigorous exercise, or sustaining an injury. 

For women, hematuria may be caused by menstruation, endometriosis, or as part of the implantation process of pregnancy.

Hematuria may be caused by more serious conditions, however. Since it’s impossible to know what is causing your hematuria just by looking, it’s always important to schedule an appointment with an expert, like our providers at Urological Associates, to uncover the root cause. 

Serious causes of hematuria often require prompt or immediate medical attention. Here’s a closer look at some of the serious causes of hematuria:

Cancer

When it appears without other symptoms, hematuria is rarely a sign of cancer. But if you’re a smoker and experience blood in your urine, you do have an elevated risk of developing kidney or bladder cancer. At Urological Associates, your experienced provider works carefully to diagnose or rule out cancer. 

Enlarged prostate (men)

When your prostate gland is enlarged, it can press on other organs, like the bladder. This can lead to irritation and in some cases bleeding, which appears in the urine. A prostate gland large enough to cause blood in the urine needs attention, as it can lead to an inability to urinate at all.

Sickle cell disease

Sickle cell disease is a genetic condition most commonly found in people of African and Mediterranean descent. This condition requires medical care and can be life-threatening. Because it can cause vascular obstruction and extravasation, or leaking, of red blood cells, hematuria is often a symptom of the disease.

Problems with your kidneys or urinary tract

Your urinary tract system is comprised of many different parts, with your urine flowing from your kidneys into the bladder through tubes called ureters. From the bladder, it exits your body through the urethra. 

When any part of the urinary tract system is diseased or damaged, it can cause hematuria. Things like kidney stones, kidney infections, and bladder stones may be the culprit. It’s important to seek medical attention to prevent further complications. 

Polycystic kidney disease

Hematuria may also indicate polycystic kidney disease (PKD), an inherited condition that causes non-cancerous cysts to grow on and in your kidneys. Over time, your kidneys become enlarged and begin to lose function.   

When should I visit a doctor for hematuria?

Don’t wait to schedule an appointment if you see blood in your urine, regardless of how much blood you see or if it seems to resolve quickly. Hematuria is never normal, and it’s important to be evaluated by an expert if it appears.

Note: If you have any of the following symptoms along with blood in the urine, seek emergency medical attention.

If you’ve noticed blood in your urine, don’t wait to contact Urological Associates by calling 434-295-0184 and get the care you need.

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