If you see blood in your urine (hematuria) you are not alone. Up to 1 in every 5 people in the general population has hematuria. Sometimes, there is enough blood to change the color of the urine to orange, pink or, less often, darker red. While in many cases the cause is harmless, blood in urine can indicate something serious, like bladder cancer.
It’s important not to panic as the discovery of blood in your urine does not necessarily mean you have bladder cancer. Fewer than 1 in 10 people with hematuria actually have bladder cancer.
More often it is caused by other things like an infection, benign (non-cancerous) tumors, stones in the kidney or bladder, or other benign kidney diseases. But it’s important to have it checked by a doctor so the cause can be found.
Factors that can cause blood to appear in your urine
Common causes of blood in the urine are viral illness, urinary tract infections and other infections such as kidney infection or prostate infection. Menstrual blood mixing with urine can cause it to turn pinkish.
A blow or other injury to your kidneys from an accident or contact sports can cause visible blood in your urine.
It's not common for strenuous exercise to lead to blood in the urine but it could be due to trauma to the bladder, dehydration or the breakdown of red blood cells that occurs with sustained aerobic exercise.
Runners are most often affected, although anyone can develop visible urinary bleeding after an intense workout. Nevertheless, if you see blood in your urine after exercise, don't assume it's from being active - see your doctor.
Blood in the urine is the most common sign of bladder cancer. The blood can disappear for weeks or even months but it will reappear if bladder cancer is present. Nevertheless, ensure you take prompt action as early detection of bladder cancer is key for a better outcome. Feel free to download our free Blood in Urine Guide to work our your next steps and more information.
If there is a reason to suspect you might have bladder cancer, the doctor will test to find out if it is cancer. One of the tests your doctor could use is Cxbladder - an easy-to-use, painless and accurate urine test that can help rule out bladder cancer.
Are you sure you have blood in your urine?
Many common foods, drugs including certain antibiotics and other factors may give your urine a red coloration. Certain foods, like beetroot, blackberries, blueberries, and rhubarb, can turn urine red or pink. However, you should monitor your urine and if the discoloration continues – even into the next day, see your doctor.
If you notice bright red blood in your urine, or if your urine has turned pinkish or reddish brown because it has blood in it, make an appointment to see your doctor. It's important to determine the reason for the bleeding.