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What is Hematuria?

Blood in your urine is a condition known as hematuria. Most of the time, the cause of hematuria is not serious. However, blood in the urine should never be ignored. Your doctor can evaluate you to identify the cause of the bleeding and treat it, if necessary.

Lab jar containing bloody urine with caption reading: Gross hematuria means blood can be seen in the urine. Lab jar containing clear, yellow urine. Microscope with inset of blood cells on yellow background with caption reading: Microscopic hematuria means blood can be seen only with a microscope.

Types of hematuria

  • Gross hematuria means that the blood can be seen by the naked eye. The urine may look pinkish, brownish, or bright red.

  • Microscopic hematuria means that the urine is clear, but blood cells can be seen when urine is looked at under a microscope or tested in a lab.

Both gross and microscopic hematuria can have the same causes, and neither one is necessarily more serious than the other. Along with either type, you may notice other symptoms, such as pain, pressure, or burning when you urinate, abdominal pain, or back pain. Or, you may not notice any other symptoms. No matter how much blood is found, the cause of the bleeding needs to be identified.

Finding the cause of hematuria

To evaluate your condition, the doctor will first confirm that blood is indeed present. Then other tests are done to pinpoint where the blood is coming from and why. Your doctor will decide which tests will best determine the cause of your hematuria. Some common tests are listed below.

  • History and physical exam

  • Lab tests may include urinalysis, a urine culture, a urine cytology, and other blood tests

  • Intravenous pyelogram (IVP)

  • Cystoscopy

  • Other tests may include:

    • Computed tomography (CT) or CT urography to study the kidneys and urinary tract

    • Magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) or MR urography

    • Ultrasound of the kidney to study the kidneys and the urinary tract

    • Cystourethrogram

Online Medical Reviewer: Akin, Louise, RN
Online Medical Reviewer: MMI board-certified, academically affiliated clinician
Date Last Reviewed: 9/12/2014
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