What Are the Symptoms of Hematuria?

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  • Written By: C. K. Lanz
  • Edited By: Melissa Wiley
  • Last Modified Date: 27 September 2018
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The primary symptoms of hematuria include red blood cells in urine that is often colored red, pink, or brown as a result. In many cases, bloody urine is the only one of the possible symptoms of hematuria that manifests. Another of the symptoms of hematuria is pain that results from having to pass blood clots through the urethra when urinating. Discolored urine is the visible sign most patients notice first, although in some cases the presence of red blood cells is detectable only by a microscope.

Hematuria is usually a symptom of an underlying condition or infection. It manifests primarily in the form of bloody urine. The urine can appear to be slightly pink to a darker red or even brownish in color. There may or may not be pain when the patient urinates depending on whether or not he or she has to pass blood clots in addition to red blood cells. These are the only symptoms of hematuria noticeable to the naked eye without the use of a microscope.


Actual hematuria results when the kidneys leak red blood cells into the urine. Infections of the kidneys or urinary tract are possible causes for this hemorrhaging. Kidney and bladder stones as well as an enlarged prostate may also be to blame. In some cases, hematuria can be a sign of cancer and a genetic disorder like sickle cell anemia. Given the range of possible causes, people who notice a persistent reddish tint in their urine should consult with a health care professional as soon as possible.

What can complicate a diagnosis of hematuria is the fact that strenuous exercise, many drugs, and specific foods can also affect the color of someone’s urine. For example, beets and rhubarb can give urine a reddish tint. Some laxatives have a similar effect. Some athletes will experience bloody urine, especially after a tough training session. If reddish urine does not resolve itself within a few days, a doctor can help determine if the cause is in fact hematuria.

Many possible causes for the symptoms of hematuria can be ruled in or out after a physical exam and a urinalysis. A urinalysis is especially useful because it is a test that can also determine whether the underlying cause is an infection or stones. Some doctors may also want to consult an imaging test like a computerized tomography scan (CT) to get a better sense of how surrounding organs are functioning. A cystoscopy may also be performed. In rare cases, the precise cause of the symptoms of hematuria will never be revealed.

Given that the symptoms of hematuria can be the result of so many underlying conditions, treatment will vary depending on the cause. In other words, there is no treatment for hematuria itself, only for whatever is causing the bloody urine. For example, antibiotics can cure infections while certain therapies can dislodge and break up stones. In some cases, no treatment will be required because the cause is not worrisome.



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