Dr. Neil BaumRed Alert-Peeing Red

Red urine usually is indicative of blood in the urine.  Blood in the urine, the medical term is hematuria, is a reason for concern just like blood in the stool or blood in the sputum and should be brought to the attention of your physician.  Hematuria can be either visible on the toilet tissue or in the commode or can only be seen under a microscope.

Causes of blood in the urine
The most common cause of blood in the urine is urinary tract infection.  Other common explanations include benign enlargement of the prostate gland.  Kidney stones especially stones that are blocking the urinary tract cause blood in the urine.  Also certain drugs such as blood thinners like Coumadin, Plavix etc, and other pain relievers can cause blood in the urine.  Finally, red urine can occur as a result of a tumor anywhere in the urinary tract such as the kidney, bladder or prostate gland.

Risk factors for blood in the urine
Patients with a family history of kidney disease are at increased risk for blood in the urine.  Chronic urinary tract infections, smoking, exposures to chemicals in the work place, history of pelvic radiation.

The diagnosis of blood in the urine consists of a careful history, a physical exam to check for pain or tenderness in the bladder or kidney area.  You will be asked to provide a urine specimen to check for infections and send the urine for an examination for cancer.  You will also have a blood test to check for kidney function.

Hematuria is usually managed by treating the underlying cause.  If the blood in the urine is caused by an infection, then antibiotics will be used to treat the infection.  Treatment for kidney stones that causes the blood in the urine can be often managed with medication and waiting for the stone to pass by itself without surgery.  If cancer is identified in the kidney or bladder, you may require surgery to remove the cancer.

In most instances the cause for the blood can be identified and successfully treated.  In some cases, the doctor is not able to find out why there is blood in the urine and you will require follow up in several weeks or months.

Bottom Line:  Blood in the urine needs to come to the attention of your doctor.  In most instances the cause can be identified and then successfully treated.


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