In the normal course, blood has no place in the urine. But Hematuria or blood in the urine is a clear indication that we are confronting a larger problem somewhere in the urinary or genital systems. It could indicate the presence of a renal cyst, although a cyst is by no means the only contributing factor.
Blood may appear in the urine for a number of reasons like kidney stones or an infection somewhere in the urogenital system. It may also develop as a side effect of cancerous growths or an enlarged prostate.
What is a Renal Cyst and how does it cause bleeding?
A cyst in the kidney is a small thick-walled pouch in the kidney that is filled with a clear fluid. If it is a simple cyst, it may grow as an isolated cell without causing any harm to the kidney structure. We call them simple and benign cysts.
If cysts grow in clumps dividing rapidly into polycystic clusters, they pressure and squeeze healthy tissue and impair kidney function. The membranes that filter blood in the glomerulus (microscopic coil of blood capillaries in kidney) weaken and allow red blood cells to squeeze through under high blood pressure to join the urine on its way to the bladder.
What makes a Renal Cyst life-threatening?
Typically, a simple renal cyst may develop complications that impair health dramatically. The following are the symptoms aggravated by renal cysts.
- Recurring back ache and dull abdominal pain
- Intermittent fever and increased blood pressure owing to Infection of cysts
- Enlargement of the kidney well beyond its normal size
- Bleeding that turns the urine black or reddish-brown
- Severe kidney dysfunction (rare and extreme scenario)
Once Hematuria is confirmed how do you diagnose the renal cyst?
A simple dipstick test is enough to confirm the presence of blood in the urine. What remains is to ensure that the kidneys, ureters, bladder and prostate are functioning normally.
- The urinalysis may indicate signs of Urinary Tract Infection, but the urologist may require a urine culture cytology screening to understand the nature of the microbial infection.
- An X-Ray will reveal whether the kidneys are normal in shape and size and if there is any enlargement indicative of a polycystic condition.
- An ultrasound imaging test will reveal finer details of the kidney tissue, and its shape and texture. Larger cysts will appear prominently.
- The MRI imaging test and CT scans present a more detailed perspective of renal cysts once their presence is confirmed. These advanced scans allow surgeons to plan surgical interventions with greater precision.
How do you treat renal cysts that cause blood in the urine?
The Nephrologist normally leaves simple or benign cysts untouched as long as they are not harming the kidney or surrounding organs. But when bleeding through the urine is severe and is accompanied by serious health issues, the following treatment options may be considered.
- Draining the renal Cyst
Under local anesthesia, and using laparoscopic techniques, a long thin needle is inserted into the kidney with an ultrasound monitoring the progress. The renal cyst is ruptured and excess fluid drained away safely. After this, an alcohol laced solution is injected into the empty cyst which is then sealed. This has the effect of neutralizing the cyst, making it incapable of growing.
- Surgical removal of cysts
Where the renal cysts are bigger in size and are clustered in a particular area becoming more accessible, the surgeon may attempt to incise and remove layers of cysts without disturbing healthy tissue. This kind of operation will be performed under general anesthesia.
The correlation of urine and blood:
Blood in urine is not a normal phenomenon. It is a matter of serious concern. Blood in the urine is referred to as haematuria, combining both haem or blood and urea or urine in this case. The condition could get worse over time, and must be attended to immediately. While kidney problems like cysts developing in them could cause urine to be accompanied by blood, it is not always necessary. Kidney cysts may cause blood in the urine to different extents, depending on the phase it is in and the current condition of the kidney. Again, it may not necessarily always be the case. Sometimes, blood in urine is seen as a result of an external wound or pus and a number of other underlying health hazards. It could also be due to some injury or abnormal functioning of the urinary tract, stones in the kidney or in people with a family history of kidney disorders. In order to confirm the reason for this absurd phenomenon, one must get themselves checked at the hospital. The doctor will run you through urine tests to detect the presence of RBCs or red blood corpuscles and suggest the tests to follow.
The Visible Symptoms:
If there are cysts in the kidney that are causing blood in the urine, they may go unnoticed initially and can be seen only through a microscopic examination. I severe cases, or as the condition progresses, the blood in the urine might get more obvious and visible, causing the urine to change colour, ranging from a weak red to reddish brown or brown. After these changes occur, you know for sure that something is not right. This is the stage where most patients consult their doctors on an urgent basis. Kidney cysts could be a prime suspect. They cause pain and ache in the area around the abdomen reaching right up to the chest, besides causing discomfort, changes to the urine and difference in blood pressure as well. Whatever be the case, the diagnosis is not in your hands. Any discolouration of the urine, be it kidney cysts or not, must be diagnosed at the earliest. Lifestyle changes, regulation of your routine, proper medication and strict motoring of the diet can help in post treatment management and prevent the issue from recurring.
If the colour of your urine is not as it should be, or if there is blood, it is highly advised to get medical advice because, even if there aren’t cysts, there might be some other issue which you would need to diagnose and prevent from causing further damage.