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Hematuria

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Also known as: Blood in the urine

What is hematuria?

Hematuria is blood in the urine. This is not a normal finding, but it is not uncommon and, although it is often worrisome for the person who experiences it, it is not necessarily a cause for alarm. Hematuria is a sign, not a disease itself. It is an indicator that prompts a health practitioner to investigate further to try to determine the underlying cause of the blood.

Blood in urine may be easily visible or it may be present in such tiny amounts that it is only detected, for example, during a urinalysis performed as part of a routine health checkup. Urine is normally clear and a shade of yellow that varies from pale straw to light amber, depending on the concentration of the urine. The color of urine is frequently different when there is blood in it, but it may not necessarily be red.

  • Gross hematuria (visible) can cause urine to be pink, red, tea-colored, or coca-cola colored. In some cases, a person may have blood clots in the urine or may be able to see visible drops of blood fall into the urine in the toilet while urinating.
  • Microscopic hematuria (not visible with the naked eye) will not alter the color of the urine.

Drawing of a kidney and the urinary tract

Many of the causes of hematuria involve the urinary tract, which consists of two kidneys, two ureters, a bladder, and a urethra.

  • Urine is produced continuously by the kidneys as they filter wastes out of the blood.
  • Urine moves from the kidneys through the ureters into the bladder, where the urine is stored, before being voided through the urethra during urination.

Various conditions that involve other systems of the body can also cause blood in the urine. For more on these, read the discussion in the section on Causes.

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