What causes blood in your urine?

Blood in your urine is called hematuria. Drink water if you have blood in your urine, but see your doctor as well.
Blood in your urine is called hematuria. Drink water if you have blood in your urine, but see your doctor as well.

Blood in your urine is called hematuria. It’s not a disease but a symptom of an underlying condition or a side effect of some activities. 

Blood you can see in your urine is called gross or visible hematuria. Hematuria might turn your urine pink, red, or dark brown. Sometimes you can have tiny amounts of blood that you can’t see, called microscopic hematuria. This type is often found during routine testing.

Blood in your urine doesn’t always mean you have a severe problem. In most cases, it will go away on its own. Common advice for urine problems or blood in urine is to drink water, but that’s not always helpful. If you see blood, you should first see a doctor to rule out any problems. 

Hematuria means that your urinary tract is leaking blood somewhere. The damage could be in your kidneys, ureter tubes, or bladder. Lots of conditions can lead to blood in your urine. One harmless but rare cause is strenuous exercise. A challenging workout or long-distance running can jolt your bladder and cause bleeding.

Specific urinary tract diseases also commonly cause hematuria, including:

Other conditions that can cause bleeding in your urinary tract include lupussickle cell disease, an enlarged prostate, and some medications like penicillin and cyclophosphamide. Some people who have a bleeding condition and take aspirin or other blood thinner medications might see blood in the urine

In many cases, the cause for hematuria is unknown. Sometimes red urine is not caused by blood in your urinary tract but by other things, including:

  • Eating foods like beets or rhubarb
  • Period blood
  • Blood from your rectum
  • Medicines like phenazopyridine or cascara that dye your urine

Can lack of water cause blood in urine?

Not drinking enough water can turn your urine a dark color, but mild dehydration in itself generally doesn’t cause hematuria. Severe or frequent dehydration can weaken and damage your kidneys and lead to bloody urine, though. 

But generally, drinking too little water can make underlying urinary problems like infections worse. Those underlying conditions can cause hematuria. 

Water helps flush bacteria and waste from your urinary system and body. Without enough water, your kidneys have trouble getting rid of waste, which can lead to  stones and concentrated urine. Stones can cause bleeding, and strong urine can irritate the bladder, leading to bladder inflammation and bleeding. 

These conditions usually have other symptoms along with bloody urine, though, including: 

  • Pain
  • Burning during urination
  • Cloudy urine
  • Urgent desire to urinate
  • Urinating often

What are the treatments for blood in urine?

The treatment for hematuria depends on the cause. 

Medications

You’ll need antibiotics for kidney, bladder, or urinary tract infections. Kidney diseases can be treated with diuretics, steroids, or other medications. If your doctor finds cancer, you might need surgery, radiation, or chemotherapy.

Drink water

One of the main treatments for kidney or bladder stones that cause blood in urine is to drink water. Sometimes your doctor might give you medications or do shockwave therapies to break up stones, but extra water can dissolve stones and help you pass them. 

Getting enough water every day can prevent stones from forming and stop them from coming back. Aim to drink enough water to make your urine clear or light yellow. 

Rest

Hematuria after vigorous exercise usually goes away on its own within 72 hours and with rest. If you still have blood after 3 days of rest, talk to your doctor. It’s also possible to have hematuria from exercise and a urinary problem at the same time. It’s best to speak with your doctor about any blood you see. 

Testing

Your doctor also might not find a cause for blood in your urine and you might not need any treatment. They might ask you to do follow-up tests. More urine testing is likely in the future to monitor your urine. 

Can blood in urine go away on its own?

Hematuria caused by minor injury or infection may end without action being taken. However, some cases of hematuria are a sign of disease and might need treatment. If you have blood in your urine with any of the following, talk to your doctor right away:

While hematuria usually isn’t serious and will often go away on its own, you should get it checked by your doctor to rule out any problems. 

QUESTION

The only purpose of the kidneys is to filter blood. See Answer

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Medically Reviewed on 12/30/2021
References
SOURCES:

American Family Physician: "Evaluation of Asymptomatic Microscopic Hematuria in Adults."

Mayo Clinic: "Blood in urine (hematuria)," "Kidney stones."

Merck Manual Consumer Version: "Blood in Urine."

National Health Service: "Blood in urine."

National Kidney Foundation: "6 Tips To Be "Water Wise" for Healthy Kidneys."

University of California Los Angeles Health: "Hematuria."

Urology Care Foundation: "Hematuria."

The Urology Group: "4 Conditions Made Worse by Dehydration.”