Sometimes it isn’t easy to determine if symptoms are a sign of minor or more severe illness. Blood in the urine, a condition called hematuria, is one of those symptoms that could indicate a more severe disease, or it could be the result of something as minor as strenuous exercise or a urinary tract infection. These issues can be quickly resolved and cured.

Some foods like beets, rhubarb, and berries turn your urine red, so you might struggle to determine the cause of bloody urine unless you talk with a doctor and peruse the information below.

What is Hematuria?

woman besides the toilet

As previously noted, hematuria occurs when blood cells become present in the urine. These blood cells can be quite visible, a condition referred to as gross hematuria. Conversely, microscopic hematuria occurs when you can’t visibly see the blood cells unless it is examined with a microscope.

More specifically, if you have hematuria, your kidneys or other parts of your urinary tract system will allow blood cells to enter your urine. If these blood cells are present, they will most likely take on the colors red, pink or brown, and keep in mind, it takes only a small amount of blood to produce red urine.

Depending on your age, any recent infections, family history, medication consumption, and or exercise regimen, you may be a heightened risk of experiencing this condition. While bloody urine is not typically painful, it does usually occur without any other signs or symptoms, so be proactive about your health, and consult a doctor if you experience this.

What Causes Blood in Urine?

There are many possible culprits for blood showing up in your urine, but here are a few that might shed some light on how this condition occurs. Even though both men and women experience these health issues, Harvard Medical School found that men are more at risk for developing Hematuria.

Bladder or Kidney Stone

  • When minerals crystallize in the body, they can harden and form walls inside your kidneys or bladder. If these stones cause a blockage or pass through your urinary tract system, it can cause extreme pain, and ultimately leads to blood in the urine.

Cancer

  • Blood in the urine can be a sign of advanced forms of cancer including kidney, bladder, or prostate cancer. Too often, cancers at this stage are not nearly as treatable.

Enlarged Prostate

  • Especially in men who are middle age or older, the prostate gland, which is located below the bladder, can become enlarged, add pressure to the urethra and hinder urine flow.

Exercise

  • Although this is rare, sometimes strenuous exercise can result in gross hematuria. Commonly associated with dehydration or injuries to the bladder, aerobic exercise is not an excuse for blood in your urine. Runners, especially, encounter this issue. If you notice blood in your urine, reach out to a doctor and be proactive.

Glomerulonephritis

  • Glomerulonephritis is an intimidating word, but it actually refers to a wider group of illnesses that you might be more familiar with like strep throat. Broadly, this illness is characterized by inflammation of the glomeruli which acts as a filter in your kidneys and results in the rare complication of both viral and bacterial infections.

Kidney Infection (pyelonephritis)

  • Kidney infections occur when bacteria enter the kidneys from the bloodstream, often leading to bladder infections or fever.

Medications

  • Antibiotics, blood thinners, and other medications are commonly associated with the onset of hematuria. Penicillin is the most common medication that leads to hematuria, but blood thinners like aspirin can also increase the likelihood of spotting blood in the urine.

Urinary Tract Infection

  • Urinary tract infections are particularly common and treatable, but can sometimes only be detected by microscopic blood in the urine. When bacteria enter your body through the urethra and exponentially grows, urinary tract infections result. These infections usually cause a frequent and urgent need to urinate and persist in older adults.

Signs and Symptoms of Hematuria

  • Abdominal pain
  • Decreased urinary force
  • Cloudy urine
  • Fever
  • Frequent urination
  • Pain during urination
  • Restlessness
  • Urine that is pink, red, or brown
  • Urinary urgency

How is Hematuria Diagnosed?

doctor diagnosing Doctor explaining about Hematuria

In order to diagnose this condition, Mayo Clinic and other experts recommend examining the entire urinary tract system. This requires a physical exam with a digital rectal exam or pelvic exam, urine tests, imaging tests, and a cystoscopy.

1

Physical exams are used to explore your medical history, possible causes for blood in your urine, an overview of your body, and discussion for next steps.

  • Men undergo a digital rectal exam, which is used to check for inflammation, an enlarged prostate, or prostate cancer.
  • Women undergo a pelvic exam, which is used to check for any problematic conditions that might be resulting in bloody urine.

2

Urine tests (urinalysis) are used to determine if there is blood in the urine. If the test is positive, clinicians will typically employ a second test to check for any red blood cells in the urine. These tests also double for checking for urinary tract infections and minerals that can cause kidney stones.

3

Imaging tests ultimately determine the cause of hematuria and are usually completed in the form of a CT scan, MRI scan, or an ultrasound exam.

4

A cystoscopy is a bit more invasive and involves your doctor feeding a tube into your bladder. The tube has a tiny camera attached to it and allows the doctor to examine your bladder and urethra more thoroughly.

Blood in Urine Treatment

Treatment for hematuria depends on the condition that is causing blood in the urine. Antibiotics clear up urinary tract infections, prescription medications shrink an enlarged prostate, or shock wave therapy breaks up bladder or kidney stones.

Altogether, treatment for hematuria varies and in some cases, no treatment at all is necessary. If your condition does require treatment, follow up with a doctor to make sure red blood are no longer present in your urine or urinary tract system.

Natural Treatments and Home Remedies for Hematuria

If traditional measures are not for you, try one of these home remedies. With just some simple ingredients, you can make your own natural treatment and begin the healing process.

Coconut water drink


What you'll need:

  • 1 cup coconut water
  • 2 teaspoons drumstick flower juice

Mix these two ingredients and drink twice a day to help fight infections.

Pumpkin drink


What you'll need:

  • 1 cup pumpkin
  • 2 teaspoons sugar cane juice

Mash the pumpkin into a paste and then add sugar cane juice. Drink this immediately after making for optimal results.

Barley water


What you'll need:

  • 25 mg barley
  • 1-liter water

Boil the barley in water for about 6 minutes, and then divide the contents into 3 drinks. Drink this 3 times a day.

Bitter gourd juice


Bitter gourd juice comes in natural form, pill form, or can be eaten. The juice is what will help remedy urinary tract infections while simultaneously removing harsh toxins from your body.  

Meat soup


What you'll need:

  • Meat - chicken, pork, beef, or anything you like
  • Combination of veggies like carrots, celery, and onions

After cooking the meat and draining any excess fat, mix these ingredients together in a large pot, boil, and let simmer for about 1 ½ hours. Ingredients vary on an individual basis but do NOT add any spices or oil because they can actually worsen your condition.

Lemon tea


What you'll need:

  • Boiled water
  • 1 teaspoon lemon juice

Mix these two ingredients together and sip mixture. Lemon tea is most effective if you drink it about every 2 hours.

Baking soda drink


What you'll need:

  • ½ tbsp baking soda
  • 8 oz water

Mix baking soda into water, stir and drink.

Food diet and exercise tools to help for hematuria patients

Appropriate Diet for Hematuria Patients

Foods and Drinks high in vitamin C

  • Pineapple, watermelon, papaya, pomegranate, cranberry juice, coconut water

Vegetables

  • Celery, asparagus, cucumbers, spinach juice

Fermented milk products

  • Yogurt, buttermilk, raw cheese
  • asterisk
    Proteins in these food help strengthen immune system and help our body tissue recover

Fish reduce inflammation

  • Flounder, tuna, salmon

Omega-3 fatty acids

  • Flaxseed and walnuts

Foods to Avoid

  • No spicy foods like scallions, garlic, ginger, pepper, liquor
  • Carbonated drinks and sodas
  • times-circle
    Salty, fatty foods, processed, or refined foods
  • times-circle
    Proteins like seafood, beef, animals organs or bean products
  • times-circle
    High sodium foods like chips and crackers
  • times-circle
    Coffee and other caffeinated drinks
  • times-circle
    Chocolate

Nutrition and Health for Hematuria Patients

Add more health tips such as dietary planning, exercise, meditation, and hygiene to help combat hematuria.

  • Avoid strenuous activity like weight lifting or running, and focus your energy on low-impact sports like yoga, walking, and/or swimming.
  • Avoid smoking cigarettes, which have been linked to urinary tract infections by Harvard.
  • Get enough rest so that your body has a chance to begin healing.
  • Stay hydrated and drink at least 8 glasses of water every day.
  • Urinate as soon as you feel the urge and avoid holding it for extended periods of time.
  • Use a mild or unscented soap and water once or twice a day on genitals for optimal hygiene.
  • Clean genitals and urinate after sex to flush out any lingering bacteria.

How Long Will It Take For Hematuria To Be Cured?

Doctor explaining about Hematuria

Once again, recovery from hematuria really depends on a series of other factors including the main cause of the illness. For those with medication, kidney stones, or urinary tract infection or exercise-induced hematuria, a quick and full recovery is almost always in the cards.

But for those who have a much more severe illness like kidney or bladder cancer, stage and type are much more representative of how and if you will make a full recovery. In most cases, and if caught in its early stages, kidney and bladder cancer patients can fully recover.

Age also plays a role in hematuria recovery. Children are more likely to experience hematuria as a result of glomerulonephritis infections like strep throat. If hematuria develops before an infection like strep throat, recovery might not be as speedy, and other issues might surface.

Adults with glomerulonephritis struggle to recover on their own and often need to seek out help from a doctor depending on the severity of the infection. In more severe cases, glomerulonephritis and associated infections can actually result in chronic kidney failure.

Conclusion

While you probably know your body best, health matters are very important. Conditions like hematuria are indicators of even larger issues like cancer or kidney failure. We recommend that you receive a periodic examination by a medical professional so that you can begin the process of healing and recovery.

And remember, just because you cannot visibly see urine in the blood, that doesn't mean that you are not experiencing an influx of red blood cells in your urinary tract. Be smart and take care of your body by scheduling annual exams and paying attention to the symptoms and signs that your body communicates to you.

LEAVE A REPLY

Please enter your comment!
Please enter your name here