Blood in the urine is called hematuria and should never be ignored. It is important to determine exactly where the blood is coming from. In women, the blood may appear to be in the urine when it is actually coming from the vagina or rectum. Discoloration from drugs or foods can mimic hematuria. A catheterized urine sample is an important diagnostic test to make sure that the discoloration is really blood and that the bleeding is coming from the bladder. Also, there is a condition called microscopic hematuria, in which the urine has microscopic amounts of blood that cannot be seen with the naked eye. In the majority of cases tests will be negative and no treatment is necessary. However, before you can make this diagnosis, other more serious causes must be eliminated.

The most common cause of hematuria is a bladder infection, which is more common during pregnancy. Other possible causes include:

  • Kidney or bladder stones
  • Tumors in the urinary tract (urethra, bladder, ureter, or kidney)
  • Infection in the kidney (pelonephritis)
  • Infection in the urethra (urethritis)
  • Trauma (Fracture of the pelvis, bruised kidney, etc.)
  • Surgical procedures, including catheterization, circumcision, surgery, and renal biopsy
  • Certain drugs can also cause hematuria
    • anticoagulants
    • cyclophosphamide
    • metyrosine
    • oxyphenbutazone
    • phenylbutazone
    • thiabendazole

Depending on the particular situation, tests that may be used to isolate the cause of the blood include:

  • Blood studies such as a CBC
  • Urinalysis
  • Cystoscopy
  • Kidney biopsy
  • IVP
  • Abdominal ultrasound
  • CT scan of the abdomen

Blood in the urine should never be ignored. It is important to see your physician and have the problem isolated and treated.