Discovering blood in your urine can cause immediate panic. Many people automatically assume the worst-case scenario when they make such an unsettling discovery: cancer. However, there are a variety of conditions that can lead to blood in the urine. In many cases, these conditions are not life-threatening but do require medical attention.
Medically referred to as hematuria, blood in the urine is actually a very common condition, and typically, these conditions are not serious. Urinating is one of the ways the body rids itself of waste products. This process begins in the kidneys, which pull excess waste and fluids from the blood, turning them into the urine. The urine that is created then passes through the tubes in the bladder known as ureters, where is it stored until it is passed. Should blood cells leak into urine during any part of this process, it will lead to hematuria.
Here’s a look at 16 things that could cause blood in the urine.
1. A prostate infection
Known as prostatitis, a prostate infection is an inflammation of the prostate gland that is the result of an infection. There are three types of prostate infections:
– Acute bacterial.
This is caused by a bacterial infection and usually starts suddenly and can cause flu-like symptoms, as well as blood in the urine.
– Chronic bacterial.
In this form of prostatitis, recurrent bacterial infections affect the prostate. Again, symptoms may be similar to those of the flu and can also include blood in the urine.
– Chronic prostatitis.
Also known as chronic pelvic pain syndrome, the cause of this type of infection is unknown, but a side effect can be blood in the urine.
2. An enlarged prostate
If a man discovers blood in his urine, it could be the result of an infected prostate. The prostate gland sits just below the bladder and surrounds a portion of the bladder. It can enlarge as men reach middle age, and if it does, it can compress the urethra and partially block the flow of urine.
When this happens, blood cells can pass into the urine, which can lead to hematuria. An enlarged prostate may sound concerning, and it some cases, it is; however, it is usually caused by a condition known as benign prostatic hyperplasia or BPH. To treat BPH, surgery may be necessary in order to either reduce the size of the prostate or remove it completely.
3. Kidney disease
Blood in the urine could be a sign of kidney disease, which could be a cause for concern. With kidney disease, glomerulonephritis can occur, which causes the filtration system in the kidneys to become inflamed, which is the cause for the blood found in the urine. Kidney disease could be diabetes or other systematic diseases.
It could also be associated with a strep infection, an immune system deficiency, or a disease of the blood vessels. Kidney disease can be a grave condition and requires immediate medical attention. With prompt treatment, kidney disease can be eased.
4. A urinary tract infection
Another cause for blood in the urine is a urinary tract infection. This type of infection occurs when bacteria makes its way through the urethra and passes to the bladder. Once the bacterium is in the bladder, it can reproduce and cause a variety of symptoms, including blood in the urine.
Other symptoms of a urinary tract infection include strong-smelling urine, an increased sense of urgency when it comes to passing urine, pain while urinating, and a small amount of urine releasing when going to the bathroom. If treated properly, urinary tract infections can be cured, which will stop the appearance of blood in the urine.
5. Bladder stones
Similar to kidney stones, bladder stones form when minerals found in the body turn into hardened stones. The minerals attach to the walls of the bladder, where they crystallize. The stones can block the flow of urine, or when they are being passed, blood may be found in the urine.
When the blood in the urine is caused by bladder stones, often, an extreme degree of pain will also be experienced. Additionally, other symptoms may present, including a fever and chills.
6. Injury to the bladder
Though it may seem unlikely, the bladder can actually sustain injuries. These injuries can be the result of a car or a sporting accident, for example. Since the bladder houses urine until it is passed, it makes sense that blood could appear. This happens when the injury causes blood cells to pass into the urine, and injuries are associated with the release of blood cells.
Other symptoms are typically associated with a bladder injury, aside from blood in the urine. These symptoms can include pain while urinating, or pain and tenderness when pressure is placed on the urine.
7. Injury to the kidneys
Just like damage to the bladder could result in blood in the urine, so can an injury to the kidneys. The kidneys serve as the filtration system for bodily fluids and create urine. When they sustain an injury, blood cells can enter into the urine, and will obviously pass upon urination.
Most injuries to the kidneys are the result of sporting injuries, such as football or other contact sports. If you have sustained a blow to the stomach or the back and you are noticing blood in your urine, there is a good chance that you have sustained an injury to your kidneys.
8. Sickle cell disease
This condition refers to a group of disorders of the red blood cell. Sickle cell disease is inherited and causes abnormal hemoglobin, which is referred to as sickle hemoglobin or hemoglobin S in the red blood cells. Hemoglobin is a type of protein found in the red blood cells, and its job is to carry oxygen throughout the entire body. Sickle cell disease is inherited because the abnormal genes are passed from parents to children.
There are many side effects of sickle cell disease, including microscopic hematuria; however, this type of blood in the urine can only be seen by a microscope, so other symptoms, such as fatigue and easy bruising, are often clues that lead to a full medical exam, including an assessment of the urine.
9. Heavy exercise
Though it is rare, heavy exercise can lead to the development of blood in the urine. It is believed that this happens when severe dehydration occurs as a result of excessive exercise, or as a result of bladder damage.
It may also be damage to the internal organs, which can be violently moved about while exercising. While any type of extreme exercise can cause blood in the urine, runners tend to be the most prone to developing this condition. Another extreme exercise, such as Crossfit, can also cause hematuria.
10. Alport syndrome
Another inherited condition, there are a number of side effects associated with Alport syndrome, including kidney disease, abnormalities of the eyes, and loss of hearing. Those who have Alport syndrome will experience a progressive loss of their kidney function. Almost every person who has this condition experiences blood in the urine. This indicates that the kidneys are functioning abnormally. High levels of protein in the urine can also occur.
As the condition progresses and the kidneys are less able to function properly, the end-stage renal disease will occur. Males with Alport syndrome are more likely to develop kidney disease and blood in the urine than women.