Hematuria (Blood in the Urine)

Hematuria (Blood in the Urine)

Hematuria is the presence of red blood cells (RBCs) in the urine. In microscopic hematuria, the urine appears normal to the naked eye, but examination under a microscope shows a high number of RBCs. Gross hematuria can be seen with the naked eye–the urine is red or the color of cola.

Several conditions can cause hematuria. Most of the causes are not serious. For example, exercise may cause hematuria that goes away in 24 hours. Many people have hematuria without having any other related problems. But because hematuria may be the result of a tumor or other serious problem, a doctor should be consulted.

In order to find the cause of hematuria, or to rule out certain causes, the doctor may order a series of tests, including urinalysis, blood tests, intravenous pyelogram, and cystoscopic examination.

Urinalysis is the examination of urine for various cells and chemicals. In addition to finding RBCs, the doctor may find white blood cells that signal a urinary tract infection or casts (groups of cells molded together in the shape of the kidneys’ tiny filtering tubes) that signal kidney disease. Excessive protein in the urine also signals poor kidney function.

Blood tests may reveal kidney disease if the blood contains high levels of wastes that the kidneys are supposed to remove.

An intravenous pyelogram (IVP) is an x-ray of the urinary tract. An IVP may reveal a tumor, a kidney or bladder stone, an enlarged prostate, or other blockage to the normal flow of urine.

A cystoscope can be used to take pictures of the inside of the bladder. It has a tiny camera at the end of a thin tube, which is inserted through the urethra. A cystoscope may provide a better view of a tumor or bladder stone than can be seen with an IVP.

Treatment for hematuria depends on the cause. If no serious condition is causing the hematuria, no treatment is necessary.

For more information, contact the following organizations:

American Kidney Fund
6110 Executive Boulevard
Suite 1010
Rockville, MD 20852
(800) 638-8299
Home page: http://www.akfinc.org/

National Kidney Foundation
30 East 33rd Street
New York, NY 10016
(800) 622-9010
Home page: http://www.kidney.org/

Additional Information on Hematuria

The National Kidney and Urologic Diseases Information Clearinghouse collects resource information on kidney and urologic diseases for the Combined Health Information Database (CHID). CHID is a database produced by health-related agencies of the Federal Government. This database provides titles, abstracts, and availability information for health information and health education resources.

To provide you with the most up-to-date resources, information specialists at the clearinghouse created an automatic CHID search. To obtain this information, you may view the results of the automatic search on Hematuria.

Or, if you wish to perform your own search of the database, you may access the CHID Online web site and search CHID yourself.

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E-mail: National Kidney and Urologic Diseases Information Clearinghouse

The National Kidney and Urologic Diseases Information Clearinghouse (NKUDIC) is a service of the National Institute of Diabetes and Digestive and Kidney Diseases (NIDDK). NIDDK is part of the National Institutes of Health under the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services. Established in 1987, the clearinghouse provides information about diseases of the kidneys and urologic system to people with kidney and urologic disorders and to their families, health care professionals, and the public. NKUDIC answers inquiries; develops, reviews, and distributes publications; and works closely with professional and patient organizations and Government agencies to coordinate resources about kidney and urologic diseases.

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NIH Publication No. 99-4559