There are few moments more frightening than seeing blood in your urine. Happily, the cause is often not serious.
The condition is more formally known as hematuria, and blood in the urine is usually the only symptom. Note that it does not take much blood to color urine pink or red, and the bleeding is usually not painful. Certain foods - notably rhubarb and beets - can also turn your urine a reddish color.
In all instances of detecting blood in your urine, see a doctor. It is symptomatic of a number of ailments, including:
• An enlarged prostate. As this gland begins to grow - commonly with the onset of middle age in men - it compresses the urethra, partially blocking urine flow.
• Bladder or kidney stones. The minerals in urine may sometimes crystallize into small, hard stones. These may cause blood to appear in your urine - and excruciating pain should they cause a blockage.
• Injury to the kidneys. Blows to the kidneys and and kidney inflammation after a viral or bacterial infection can cause hematuria.
• Medications. Aspirin, non-steroidal anti-inflammatory pain relievers, penicillin and the anti-cancer drug cyclophosphamide all have hematuria as a known side effect.
• Urinary tract infection. More than fifty percent of all women are likely to get a UTI at one point in their lives, and a good percentage of these will see blood in their urine.
• Strenuous exercise, especially among runners, may induce urinary bleeding.
• Cancer, sickle cell anemia, and Alport syndrome may all include hematuria as a symptom.
See a doctor if you notice blood in your urine. She will conduct a urinalysis to ascertain the cause of the bleeding. Oftentimes an imaging test such as X-rays, magnetic resonance imaging, and/or an ultrasound examination may be scheduled.
In some cases, more difficult to diagnose, your doctor may perform a cystoscopy. She will thread a narrow tube fitted with a tiny camera into your bladder to closely examine both the bladder and urethra for signs of disease.
There is no particular treatment for hematuria; your doctor will address the cause of this condition, once diagnosed.
Dr. Samadi is a board-certified urologic oncologist trained in open and traditional and laparoscopic surgery and is an expert in robotic prostate surgery. He is chairman of urology, chief of robotic surgery at Lenox Hill Hospital and professor of urology at Hofstra North Shore-LIJ School of Medicine. He is a medical correspondent for the Fox News Channel's Medical A-Team Learn more at roboticoncology.com. Visit Dr. Samadi's blog at SamadiMD.com. Follow Dr. Samadi on Twitter, Instagram, Pintrest and Facebook