Blood in the urine, otherwise referred to as “hematuria”, can come from the kidneys (where urine is made) or anywhere in the urinary tract.
It can be alarming but often is not a sign of significant disease. In fact, a fair number of individuals will normally have some degree of blood in the urine, at least microscopically.
Common causes include infections of the bladder or urinary tract, kidney stones, certain kidney disease, intense exercise, and enlargement of the prostate. Other more serious yet less common causes include injury or cancer of the bladder, prostate, or kidney.
Sometimes, urine can look as though it is bloody even though it isn’t. This can happen if you eat a lot of beets or food dyes, or if you take certain medicines.
You should see your doctor if you see blood in your urine.
Sometimes, doctors find blood in the urine when they do a routine urine test. That can happen even if the urine looks normal. It means there are microscopic (trace) amounts of blood in the urine.
Your doctor will decide which tests you should have based on your age, other symptoms, and individual situation.
Some common tests ordered are urine tests, blood work, upper urinary tract imaging (i.e. kidney u/s or CT scan), and perhaps cystoscopy, a procedure that allows the doctor to look inside the bladder with a small tube with a camera attached that is inserted via the urethra.
Despite these tests, for many patients no specific cause is found. Treatment will be based on a doctor’s evaluation of the patient’s condition, symptoms and medical history along with the cause of the hematuria.