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HealthInfo Canterbury

Blood in the urine (haematuria)

Important!

If you think you have blood in your urine, always go to see your GP.

urine-test.jpgBlood in the urine is called haematuria. It is often a symptom of something and not a condition on its own.

When there is lots of blood in the urine you can see this with the naked eye as it looks red or pink. Very small amounts of blood in the urine can't been seen. But it can be picked up when a urine test is done under a microscope or using a urine dipstick.

Not all red or dark looking urine means blood is present. Sometimes it may be due to eating certain foods such as beetroot, rhubarb, blackberries, or some drugs such as rifampin. Extreme exercise can also cause muscle breakdown, which can cause kidney damage and change the colour of urine.

Common causes

Often the cause is not found, but testing is needed to rule out important causes.

The most common causes are a bladder infection (UTI) or a kidney infection (pyelonephritis).

Other causes include:

What tests will I need?

Your GP will examine you and ask you questions about your general health and about the blood in your urine.

The first test you will need is a urine test to check for the presence of blood or an infection. Some people may need to have this test more than once.

If you don't have a urine infection and continue to have blood in your urine you will need further tests. These depend on your age and if the blood is visible to the naked eye or only visible under a microscope.

These tests include:

What happens next?

If you have a urine infection, the first step is for your doctor to treat that before retesting your urine to see if the blood has gone.

Your GP may refer you to see a specialist if:

The specialist may recommend further tests, such as a cystoscopy (see above).

If no cause is found, the specialist may recommend that you and your GP continue to monitor your urine.

Written by HealthInfo clinical advisers. Endorsed by clinical director, Urology, Canterbury DHB. Updated February 2017.

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Review key: HIBIU-265812