Women's Health

What Does it Mean if I Have Blood in My Urine?

What Does it Mean if I Have Blood in My Urine?

Waking up to the sight of reddish discharge in your urine can be disconcerting to nearly anyone. However, nine out of ten times there is nothing severe to worry about. Though this is the case, there is always a chance that you might be observing a visible symptom of a serious underlying problem.

Hematuria is the name given to the condition where blood appears in a person's urine. This can be in small amounts (called microscopic hematuria), or in larger, more visible amounts (called gross or frank hematuria). Women may also mistake menstrual blood for urinal blood, and men might suspect urinal blood when the blood comes from ejaculated semen of an infected prostate gland.

Less Serious Causes

  • Betacyanin is a pigment that gives many foods, like beets and berries, their distinctively reddish or purplish color. When these foods are digested by the body, they often leave a reddish tint in a person's urine.
  • Sometimes the ingredients in medications used to treat hypertension, blood clots, allergies, and bacterial infections add a reddish color to urine.
  • Vitamins, if ingested in excessive quantities, can turn urine different colors.
  • Lead and mercury are heavy metals that poison the system creating nervous disorders, kidney failure, and reproductive problems. Their breakdown produces darkish pigments that may discolor the urine.
  • Cleansing of the bowels and detoxifying the liver using herbal remedies can discolor urine.
  • In menorrhagia, menstrual bleeding occurs excessively because of improper hormone levels or the presence of uterine fibroids. In such instances, menstrual blood may mix with urine, creating a reddish discharge.

Serious Disorders that Cause Blood in Urine

  • Cancer of the kidneys or urinary bladder can cause blood to be expelled through urine.
  • Inflammation anywhere in the excretory system (such as the kidneys, urinary bladder, urethra, or the prostate gland) can also cause bleeding.
  • Kidney stones may tear surrounding tissues and epithelial linings of the kidneys, releasing blood in the process. The condition also creates severe abdominal pain.
  • Blood in urine could indicate failure of one or both kidneys when accompanied by visible swelling of the limbs, particularly the legs. 
  • A cystic condition of the kidneys can cause bleeding because multiple fluid-packed cysts destroy healthy tissue, and make the kidney larger in size.
  • A bleeding disorder called hemophilia causes uncontrollable bleeding after injury because of the weakening of the blood clotting system. This leads to urinal bleeding.
  • Sickle cell anemia is a transformation of the red blood cells that cause them to deform into smaller, sickle-shaped cells, disrupting oxygen delivery and normal blood flow. Blood can also be diverted into the urine in this condition
  • Infection of the prostate gland, especially in older men.
  • Trauma or internal damage experienced by athletes. People that exert themselves to the point of exhaustion and dehydration are especially susceptible to urinal bleeding.
  • Porphyria is a condition that is passed on genetically and is characterized by the abnormal breakdown of red blood cells. This breakdown releases dark pigments into urine.

If blood in urine is accompanied by any of the following symptoms, you need medical advice:

  • The presence of uric acid crystals and oxalates, indicative of kidney stones
  • Loss of weight for no apparent reason
  • Urine dribbles after urination, frequent urination, or problems urinating
  • Fever, nausea, and vomiting
  • Burning sensation during urination
  • Discharge of blood clots in urine

The presence of blood in urine, if accompanied by the above symptoms, could suggest a number of underlying problems. It is important for those who experience these symptoms to seek medical attention and be thoroughly examined.