Seeing blood in your urine can be very frightening. There are many possible reasons for blood in the urine, not all of them a cause for concern. It is best to see your doctor to determine the reason for the bleeding.
Blood in urine is called hematuria. If the blood is visible to the naked eye, this is called macrohematuria. If the blood is only visible under a microscope, this is called microhematuria. If you have hematuria, you are not alone. Up to 20% of people may have hematuria from time to time.
Some medications such as antibiotics can change the colour of urine. Eating foods like beetroot, rhubarb and berries in large amounts can also turn urine reddish. Other factors such as sexual activity, menstrual periods in women, and vigorous exercise can cause blood to be present in urine. In these cases, there is no need to worry.
However, hematuria can be a sign of something more worrying. Hematuria can be caused by urinary tract infections, bladder or kidney infections, bladder or kidney stones or enlarged prostate in men. More seriously, hematuria can be a sign of bladder, kidney or prostate cancer.
Blood in the urine, or hematuria, is the most common symptom of bladder cancer. About 80% of people with bladder cancer will have hematuria. Bladder cancer occurs when cells in the bladder start growing abnormally. Most bladder cancers start in the inner lining of the bladder. Over time, the cancer grows deeper into the tissue of the bladder, and can spread to other parts of the body. Bladder cancer is the 9th most common cancer worldwide. It is most common in men over 55 years old. Bladder cancer is highly treatable when diagnosed at an early stage.
Bladder cancer can be diagnosed through urine tests, ultrasound, CT scan or cystoscopy. Ultrasound bounces sound waves off body structures to get a picture, while CT scans use x-rays to get a cross-sectional image of the body. Cystoscopy is where a tube is passed up the urethra to look into the bladder. Cxbladder is a type of urine test that looks for genetic material biomarkers in the urine to detect or rule out bladder cancer. It is accurate and non-invasive, with results available in 5 working days. If you are worried about blood in your urine, you may want to consider using the Cxbladder urine test to check if the hematuria is a symptom of bladder cancer.
You can download the patient discussion guide below to work out your next steps if you have blood in your urine. The guide contains a list of symptoms of bladder cancer and a list of questions to ask your doctor that you may find helpful.