Haematuria is a medical term that simply means “blood in the urine.”. This condition can range from being invisible to the naked eye to recognisable by turning the urine pink, red, or brown. Whilst the cause may often be temporary and benign, it is vital to get checked out and undergo further investigation.
There are two primary types of haematuria:
- Visible (Macroscopic) Haematuria: There is a noticeable change in the colour of your urine to the naked eye, often resulting in urine that appears discoloured, pink, red, or brown.
- Non-visible (Microscopic) Haematuria: The blood in your urine is only visible under a microscope. You won’t see any change in the colour of your urine. Microscopic haematuria may be discovered during routine medical check-ups or when investigating other urinary symptoms.
Haematuria can be caused by a variety of underlying medical conditions or factors, including:
- Urinary Tract Infections (UTIs): Infections of the urinary tract, such as bladder or kidney infections, can lead to haematuria.
- Kidney Stones: Passing kidney stones can cause bleeding and haematuria.
- Injury or Trauma: Any damage to the urinary tract, including accidents, surgery, or catheterisation, can result in blood in the urine.
- Enlarged Prostate: An enlarged prostate gland can sometimes cause haematuria in men.
- Certain Medications: Some medications, such as blood thinners, can increase the risk of bleeding and haematuria.
- Kidney Disease: Various benign kidney conditions may filter blood cells through to the urine microscopically
- Bladder or Kidney Cancer: Haematuria can be a bladder or kidney cancer symptom, especially in older individuals.
When to see a doctor
If you notice blood in your urine, you must see your doctor immediately. They can help determine the cause of your haematuria and recommend appropriate tests and referral to a urologist. Don’t ignore this symptom, even if it’s mild or goes away on its own, as it could be a sign of an underlying issue that needs attention.
To identify the cause of your haematuria, your doctor may recommend several tests, including:
- CT scan to examine the kidneys, ureters, and bladder.
- Cystoscopy to inspect the urethra, prostate (in males), and bladder.
- Specialised urine test to check for signs of infection or screen for cancer cells.
For younger patients, particularly young females, an ultrasound of the kidneys is often adequate. Given the very low likelihood of urological cancer in young females with microscopic haematuria, a cystoscopy is not typically deemed necessary. Microscopic haematuria in young females is frequently attributed to urinary infections.
Dr Kapil Sethi will conduct a thorough evaluation, which may include imaging tests, blood tests, and further examinations, to identify the underlying cause of the haematuria and develop an appropriate treatment plan.