What Does Blood in the Urine Mean?

Reviewed on 3/16/2021

Introduction

Blood in the urine is not always cause for concern. Common causes of blood in urine include kidney and bladder stones or infections, strenuous exercise, cancer, urinary tract infections (UTI), enlarged prostate, and other medical conditions.
Blood in the urine is not always cause for concern. Common causes of blood in urine include kidney and bladder stones or infections, strenuous exercise, cancer, urinary tract infections (UTI), enlarged prostate, and other medical conditions.

There are many reasons why both men and women may experience blood in their urine. Although it may be unsettling, it’s not always cause for concern. If you see blood in your urine, you should investigate the underlying cause with your doctor.

Signs and symptoms of blood in the urine

Blood in your urine may occur in two different ways: 

Gross hematuria 

Gross hematuria is when you can see the blood cells in your urine. This means your urine will be red, brown or pink. It may come with blood clots in your urine, which may make it painful. 

Microscopic hematuria 

Microscopic hematuria is when only a health professional can see blood in your urine under a microscope. This is a fairly common finding in urine analysis of adults. Your doctor may order further tests to find the underlying cause if they can see 3 to 5 red blood cells per high-power field.

Causes of blood in urine for men and women

You may experience blood in your urine for a variety of reasons: 

Kidney or bladder stones

A kidney stone is produced through chemicals in your urine. There are four types of hard kidney stones: uric acid, cystine, calcium oxalate, and struvite. By contrast, bladder stones consist of hard minerals lumped together.

Medically, bladder stones are called bladder calculi. Either kidney or bladder stones could cause the blood you see.

Infection of the kidney or bladder

An infection in your kidneys or bladder may cause blood in your urine. If the blood comes from an infection, you may experience other symptoms. For instance, kidney infections (pyelonephritis) may produce fever and chills, or pain in your lower back. 

For bladder infections (acute cystitis), you could experience fever, burning when you urinate, or belly pain.

Strenuous exercise

If you have blood in your urine from exercise, it is usually harmless. It occurs more often after strenuous exercise in men than in women. 

Cancer

In more serious cases, blood, when you urinate may indicate cancer. Blood is one of the early warning signs of bladder cancer, but it could also indicate kidney cancer. A benign tumor may also cause blood in the urine.

Medical condition

A medical condition, such as sickle cell anemia (which affects the hemoglobin in red blood cells), is another possible cause for blood in the urine. 

Alport syndrome could also cause it. Alport syndrome affects the filtering membranes in the small blood vessels of the kidneys.

Urinary tract infections (UTIs)

The majority of urinary tract infections occur in the lower tract of the urine tract, meaning the bladder and the urethra. Urinary tract infections may cause blood in your urine, itching, and pelvic pain. They can usually be cured within a few days with medication

Women have a higher risk of getting a urinary tract infection than men. 

Enlarged prostate

For men, blood in the urine could mean benign prostatic enlargement. This is a condition that affects all men as they grow older. By the age of 50 to 60, half of all men will experience an enlarged prostate, and 90% of men over the age of 85 will experience it.

SLIDESHOW

Urinary Incontinence in Women: Types, Causes, and Treatments for Bladder Control See Slideshow

Tests for blood in urine for men and women

If you have blood in your urine, your doctor will run some initial tests to help identify the underlying cause, including: 

Urinalysis: A combination of a visual and chemical examination to confirm the presence of blood and proteins in the urine

Blood Tests: To evaluate kidney function

Complete Blood Count (CBC): To determine blood cells and platelet counts 

Once your initial test results are in, your doctor may order some follow up tests:

Treatments for blood in urine for men and women 

The necessary treatment for blood in the urine will vary depending on the cause. For example, you can treat a urinary tract infection with medication. On the other hand, you may need a bone marrow transplant for sickle cell anemia.

Health Solutions From Our Sponsors

References
American Cancer Society: "Bladder Cancer Signs and Symptoms."

American Cancer Society: "Kidney Cancer Signs and Symptoms."

American Family Physician: "Assessment of Microscopic Hematuria in Adults."

American Kidney Fund: "Blood in urine."

American Society of Hematology: "Sickle Cell Trait."

Cedars-Sinai: "Bladder Stones."

Harvard Health Publishing: "Hematuria: What Is It?"

Johns Hopkins Medicine: "Urinary Tract Infections."

Lab Test Online: "Blood in Urine (Hematuria)."

National Kidney Foundation: "Kidney Stones."

National Kidney Foundation: "Alport Syndrome."

National Health Service: "Sickle cell disease: Treatment."

Urology Care Foundation: "Benign Prostatic Hyperplasia (BPH)."

Urology Care Foundation: "Urinary Tract Infections in Adults."

Urology Care Foundation: "Kidney (Renal) Infection - Pyelonephritis: What is Kidney (Renal) Infection - Pyelonephritis?"

Health Solutions From Our Sponsors