What Does It Mean When You Pee Blood?

Spotting any blood when you pee can be quite frightening. It can happen for so many reasons. Medically known as hematuria, the condition is not always serious. You urinate to eliminate waste products from your body. The process starts in your kidneys that remove excess waste and fluids from the blood and convert them into urine. The urine then flows through ureters and goes into the bladder where it stays until you pee it out. It is possible for blood cells to leak into urine at any stage during the process. It is important to talk to your doctor to find out why you pee blood. 

What Does It Mean When You Pee Blood?

1. Urinary Tract Infections

Bacteria can enter your body through the urethra and grow in the urine pooled up in your bladder. If you hold your urine longer and resist the temptation to use the bathroom, this provides bacteria with ample time to grow and cause infections. This produces symptoms such as pain while urinating, persistent urge to urinate, and strong-smelling urine. And of course, there may be some blood in the urine as well – this is usually microscopic blood only.

2. Bladder or Kidney Stones

A kidney or bladder stone can develop due to a buildup of minerals. The stones are not always painful at the beginning. Most people do not know they have them until they experience pain and go for a test. Sometimes, these stones can block the flow of urine and cause excruciating pain with gross and microscopic bleeding.

3. Enlarged Prostate

There is usually an increase in the size of the prostate gland as men approach middle age. This enlargement leaves little place for urethra. Any compression may lead to a blockage of urine flow. This produces symptoms such as persistent need to urinate, difficulty urinating, and microscopic or visible blood in the urine.

4. Kidney Infections

Pyelonephritis or kidney infections may well be the answer to "What does it mean when you pee blood?" You develop a kidney infection when bacteria in your bloodstream enter your kidneys or move from ureters to your kidneys. The most common signs of infections are flank pain and fever. Other symptoms related to bladder infections may also be present.

5. Glomerulonephritis

Glomerulonephritis causes the inflammation of the kidney's filtering system. You may eventually develop it if you have diabetes; however, it can occur on its own as well. Strep infections, immune problems and blood vessel diseases can also be the triggers. The condition causes pain as well as microscopic urinary bleeding.

6. Kidney, Bladder, or Prostate Cancer

Visible urinary bleeding sometimes indicates advanced bladder, kidney, or prostate cancer. But you usually experience no symptoms in early stages of these cancers.

7. Inherited Disorder

You may pee blood when you have a hereditary defect of hemoglobin called sickle cell anemia. This condition may produce microscopic and visible hematuria. Another inherited disorder called Alport syndrome may cause the same–it affects the filtering membranes in your kidneys.

8. Kidney Injury

A serious blow to the kidneys or another kidney injury result from an accident can make you see blood in your urine.

9. Medications

Certain drugs, especially penicillin and anti-cancer drug, cyclophosphamide, can lead to urinary bleeding. There may be blood in your urine if you are taking an anticoagulant such as aspirin. The blood thinner heparin may have the same side effect.

10. Strenuous Exercise

Some people notice blood in the urine after they complete a strenuous workout session. The exact cause is unknown but it may have something to do with dehydration, trauma to the bladder, or the breakdown of red blood cells during a strenuous exercise. This is more common in runners but other athletes may have to deal with it as well.

11. Other Causes

What does it mean when you pee blood? There is a possibility of having a blood clot or a blood disease. Moreover, some people pee blood because of a sexually transmitted infection called Chlamydia which leads to urethral inflammation.

What to Do When You Pee Blood

It is important to seek immediate medical assistance when you begin urinating blood.Talk to a primary care physician first to confirm if you should see another specialist – they will also guide you if you should see a kidney doctor, urologist, or blood doctor. They may order a urine test to confirm you have hematuria. Sometimes, your doctor asks you to repeat the urine test between periods because it is possible for menstruation blood to get into the urine. Your treatment options will depend on the underlying cause of hematuria. For instance:

  • If you have kidney stones, your doctor may make you drink lots of fluids that will help flush small stones from the urinary tract. You may require surgery or lithotripsy if you have larger stones.
  • If you are peeing blood as a result of an injury, you may have to undergo a surgery to fix the issue.
  • If you have a tumor in the kidney or bladder, your treatment will depend on how much the cancer has spread. Your general health, age, and personal preferences will also influence your treatment options. Your doctor may recommend surgery, radiation therapy, chemotherapy, and immunotherapy.
  • If you have glomerulonephritis, you will have to take antibiotics to clear the infection. Your doctor may also prescribe diuretics to increase the amount of urine and medications to manage hypertension. Children often develop glomerulonephritis because of a streptococcal infection and respond well to antibiotics.
  • If you have a bleeding disorder, your doctor will consider its type to suggest a treatment. You will require fresh frozen plasma if you are suffering from hemophilia. 
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