Healthy Living

How Are Imaging Tests Used For Bloody Urine?

Leveraging the power of diagnostic imaging to unearth hidden disorders that lead to blood in the urine

How Are Imaging Tests Used For Bloody Urine?

The external physical examination is over, and a detailed medical history has been discussed with the doctor. The next step - urinalysis of the latest urine sample - indicates more than three red blood cells occupying the microscopic viewing arena. The dipstick test shows the presence of blood in the urine at higher levels, confirming the suspicions of the doctor. The diagnosis points to a Urinary Tract Infection (UTI) or something more serious.

The diagnostic imaging tool is one of the most important ways of validating the urinalysis and probing hidden disorders that lead to bleeding in the urine.  Most imaging tests provide a noninvasive view of inner tissues. Using them, the consulting doctor collects a lot of information about the condition of the body, especially the urogenital system.

Most Widely Used Imaging Tools

X-rays: If blood in urine is accompanied by symptoms of abdominal pain, queasiness, and retching, a quick x-ray could shed light on calcification (stone formation) in the kidney and bladder. 

Ultrasounds: Working on the same principles as the radar, sound waves are bounced off tissues to create a three-dimensional view of the internal organs. The kidney, ureter, bladder and prostate gland can be viewed to detect lumps, tumors, and stones that may be causing urinary bleeding. If a digital rectal examination of the prostate reveals enlargement, an ultrasound test can provide contrasting tissue images revealing more information about the condition of the prostate.

Computed Tomographic Imaging: The CT scan creates much better images than an ultrasound. In CT Angiography, a special dye is injected through an intravenous drip before the scan. The dye sharpens the contrast for imaging the organ in greater detail. Stones and tumors can be easily located in this manner and mapped before surgical removal. This technique is used sparingly, owing to radiation hazards and some patients’ allergic reaction to the dye, which strains the kidney.

Magnetic Resonance Scanning: The MRI scan leverages powerful magnetic fields. Its results are not as clear as the CT scan, especially when it comes to scanning organs for UTI. It is useful in patients with severe kidney disorders, and people that are sensitive to radiation and allergic to dyes.

Urography: This is also called Intravenous Urography or IVU. This technique combines x-ray viewing of tissues and organs with an intravenously administered dye providing the contrasting background. It is widely used in infants and young adults because of its lower radiation levels. This method is slowly yielding ground to the superior image clarity of the CT scan.   

Cystography: This is a procedure where the interior of the urinary bladder is closely studied with x-ray imaging after a dye contrast is injected through the urethral opening. This is useful for ruling out bladder tumors or stones that may lead to blood in urine.

The Necessity of Diagnostic Imaging

A course of antibiotics, accompanied by pain relievers and anti-inflammatories, might be sufficient to clear up most cases of UTIs, and matters need not escalate to imaging tests.

Stones, lumps, edemas (excessive water accumulation) and tumors often cause blood in the urine. These disorders can be detected using the comparatively inexpensive and radiation-free ultrasonography. Scanning is most useful when it assists surgical procedures of abdominal organs.

Patients suffering from clotting disorders are more prone to loss of blood through urine and they benefit a lot from imaging tests. Imaging helps identify the tissues that are most vulnerable to bleeding. Imaging helps in paving the way for corrective medication or surgery for relieving the symptoms.    

Medical specialists recommend the CT scan and Intravenous Urography as the most appropriate diagnostic imaging tools for finding the contributing factors leading to hematuria.