Hematuria, or the presence of blood in the urine, is often a symptom of prostatitis. If you suffer from prostatitis, we have an article prepared – check it out here. To provide you with a better grasp of the topic, we have also gathered info on other medical conditions that cause hematuria.
The presence of blood in urine is called, in medical terms, hematuria. Hematuria is often considered a sign that something is not right with a person’s urinary tract. The blood can come from the patient’s kidneys, ureters, also known as the tubes that connect the bladder and the kidneys, the bladder, the place where the urine is stored, or from the urethra.
There are two separate types of hematuria. If the blood is visible in the urine, the patient suffers from gross hematuria. If the blood is only visible after a close inspection under a microscope, he/she has microscopic hematuria.
Hematuria is not always a sign of a serious medical issue and, in most cases, it develops after one engages in strenuous exercise, especially after long-distance running, or after taking various kinds of medication including laxatives, penicillin, and aspirin. What is more, foods such as rhubarb, berries or beets can also tint the urine red.
If it does not resolve by itself, hematuria can be a sign of a more serious disease including prostatitis, kidney issues, and even cancer. Because of this, the specialists argue that you should not ignore the presence of blood in your urine.
Can prostatitis cause hematuria?
The short answer to this pending question is yes. Prostatitis is the inflammation of the prostate, the gland that produces the fluid that represents 50 to 75% of the semen. The most common form of prostatitis, acute prostatitis, is caused by an infection. One of the most telling signs of prostatitis is hematuria.
Prostatitis is also accompanied by other symptoms such as fever, chills, difficulty urinating, pain when urinating, pain in the rectum and lower back as well as in the lower abdomen. Besides, if you suffer from prostatitis you might also notice that your urine has a foul smell and you might experience pain in your testicles and when ejaculating.
Even though hematuria can occur without the presence of other additional symptoms, it has been associated with other symptoms.
If the patient suffers from a bladder infection, he/she might experience a burning feeling in the bladder as well as pain while urinating. In the case of infants, a bladder infection is signaled by fever, lower belly pain a lack of appetite.
Those who suffer from a kidney infection also exhibit symptoms such as flank pain, fever, pain in the lower back and chills.
Patients that have kidney stones tend to feel pelvic and abdominal pain as well, while other kidney diseases are also accompanied by symptoms such as body swelling, high blood pressure, weakness and puffiness around the eyes.
Kidney stones are created by the build-up of minerals that crystallize on the walls of one’s bladder or kidneys. Stones are generally painless and, in most cases, the patients do not feel any type of discomfort. This changes when the stones grow in size or when they cause blockages.
The most common causes
One of the most common causes of hematuria is a bladder or kidney infection. Blood in the urine can also be a sign of an enlarged prostate. The prostate gland is located beneath the bladder and in the upper part of the urethra. In middle-aged men, the prostate enlarges and it compresses the urethra. As a result, the urine flow is blocked.
Advanced bladder, kidney or prostate cancer can also manifest through hematuria. There are also inherited diseases such as cystic kidney disease and sickle cell anemia that also share hematuria as a symptom.
Other causes of hematuria are kidney injuries, vigorous exercises, a tumor in the prostate, kidneys or the bladder. Blood in the urine is also common in patients that take drugs such as cyclophosphamide, aspirin, heparin, phenazopyridine or penicillin.
Almost anyone can have blood in his/her urine, regardless of his/her sex or age. However, some factors can make certain people predisposed to hematuria.
Age is one factor that has to be taken into account. Usually, men older than 50 tend to have blood in their urine as a result of an enlarged prostate. Also, patients that have had a recent infection are likely to have blood mixed in their urine as well.
If you have a family history of kidney stones or kidney diseases, you are also prone to urinary bleeding. Additionally, those who take nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drugs, aspirin or antibiotics such as penicillin are also likely to experience hematuria.
Runners are also at risk as hematuria can also be induced by strenuous exercise. This issue is so common that some specialists have coined the term jogger’s hematuria. Not only runners are at risk. All people who work out strenuously can end up developing this symptom.
Hematuria in female patients
A recent study conducted by the National Institute of Diabetes and Digestive and Kidney Diseases has shown that women have a higher risk of developing a urinary tract infection, also known as a UTI. This is caused by the location of their urethras. 40 to 60% of women experience a UTI at least once in their life.
A UTI develops when bacteria from the bowels enters the urethra or the tube that is used to eliminate the urine from the body. It is important that all women receive immediate care as a UTI can travel and infect one’s kidneys, ureters, and bladder.
The most common sign of a UTI is the constant and urgent need to urinate. Additional symptoms include pain while urinating, foul-smelling urine, pressure and pain in the lower abdomen, as well as hematuria.
Endometriosis is also a common cause of hematuria in women. In this case, the blood in the urine is accompanied by symptoms such as severe pain in the lower back. Endometriosis is a serious medical condition that affects 11% of adult and adolescent females in the USA.
It occurs when a tissue that is very similar to the lining of the uterus starts growing in areas outside of the actual uterus such as the fallopian tubes or ovaries. If the needed treatment is not supplied, studies show that endometriosis can affect fertility.
How is hematuria diagnosed?
If you experience hematuria, your healthcare professional will most likely diagnose you after doing a handful of tests and after taking your medical history. This way, he/she will be able to find the cause of hematuria.
A physical exam might also be required. During the exam, the doctor will check for pain or tenderness in the kidney and bladder area and, if necessary, he/she will also perform a digital rectal exam to look for signs of an inflamed or enlarged prostate. In the case of females, a pelvic exam is often performed.
If the medical professional believes that the patients might have microscopic hematuria, a urine test is also done. The doctor can use a dipstick or he/she can send a urine sample to a lab for further analysis.
For women, before a urinalysis is performed, the doctor is obliged to ask the patient when was the last time that she menstruated. This is important because menstrual blood can get into the urine sample and, thus, jeopardize the results. If the cause cannot be detected, additional testing such as blood tests, CT scans, cystoscopies, kidney biopsies, and MIRs are performed.
Healthcare professionals do not treat hematuria, but the underlying causes that lead to the emergence of this symptom. If he/she cannot find a serious condition that causes hematuria, treatment is not administered. In most cases, hematuria does not have to be treated as it tends to go away by itself.
All patients that experience hematuria should know that studies have not shown a link between hematuria and the diet of a person. So, nutrition cannot be used to prevent or treat it.
If you notice the presence of blood in your urine you should seek medical help. If you also see blood clots in your urine, you should consult a urologist as soon as possible.
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