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Haematuria Blood in Urine is Nature's Warning Sign
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Haematuria, Blood in Urine is Nature’s Warning Sign

Peeing blood when you pass urine is quite common, but alarming. Many of us get occasional or recurrent blood in urine (haematuria) which can’t be seen with the naked eye, but is only detectable with a urinary dipstick and is often a surprise discovery made during tests for other conditions.

Either way, any sign of blood in urine (haematuria) needs checking out, as there are lots of causes, some of which are serious and need urgent tests (see tips). Make a doctor’s appointment and take a urine sample with you in a clean container.

Diabetes is the leading cause of kidney failure and thousands of diabetics begin treatment for end-stage kidney disease and are living with chronic dialysis or kidney transplants.

Other Symptoms

Also make an appointment if you have any of the following, with or without visible blood in urine: dysuria (pain, burning or discomfort during or after peeing), needing to pee frequently or urgently, an unpleasant smell, leaking urine or pain in your tummy or kidney areas (under your ribs, each side at the back).

Also report any vaginal dryness or discharge, feeling easily full on eating, or more general symptoms, such as weight loss, sweats or extreme tiredness.

Could it be Cancer?

Around 8,000 people die every year in the UK alone, from bladder or kidney cancer but, if diagnosed at the earliest stage (stage 1) more than four-fifths of those with kidney cancer and over three-quarters of those with bladder cancer will live at least another five years. These figures fall to one in 10 when diagnosed at a late stage (stage 4), so if your GP thinks cancer could be a possibility, she’ll refer you for tests within two weeks.

Both cancers commonly develop from middle-age onwards. There are more than 10,000 new cases in the UK, of bladder cancer each year and over 12,000 new cases of kidney cancer. You may notice blood in urine
(haematuria), a urinary tract infection that won’t go away or other symptoms. Treatment depends on whether the cancer has spread and may include destroying cancer cells (either by freezing, laser or radiofrequency treatment), surgery, radiotherapy and/or chemotherapy.

Diabetes is the leading cause of kidney failure and thousands of people with end-stage kidney disease due to diabetes are living on chronic dialysis or with a kidney transplant.

Other Causes

You may have blood in urine (haematuria) if you have a urinary infection, a catheter, bladder or kidney stones (which may have no other symptoms or cause excruciating colicky pain), or have suffered trauma. It can also develop in many kidney diseases, including cysts and immune-system disorders, some blood diseases, congenital abnormalities or if you take certain medicines, such as blood-thinning anticoagulants. In men, it can also be caused by an enlarged, inflamed or cancerous prostate.

Urine can also turn red/ brown in jaundice, after extreme exercise (muscle breakdown products) or after eating beetroot! 

Vaginal or rectal bleeding, sexually transmitted infections (STIs) or external soreness or scratching can also result in bloodied urine. If you’re not sure, use loo paper to check whether it could be coming from your front or back passage and report this to your doctor, too.

6 Tests You May Need for Haematuria

  • Urine dipstick – this may need to be repeated if you have unexpected non-visible blood in urine. This can detect protein and glucose (sugar) as well as blood.
  • Urine sample (and/or vaginal swab) sent to the lab to check for infection.
  • Blood-pressure check and blood tests, including for infection, inflammation, diabetes or liver and kidney damage. 
  • Cystoscopy telescopic examination of the bladder, usually under local anaesthetic.
  • X-rays or ultrasound/CT/MRI scans of your pelvis, tummy and beyond, if it’s suspected that cancer may have spread. 
  • Kidney biopsy a small sample taken for lab analysis performed under local anaesthetic. 

E326 – Haematuria Blood in Urine is Nature’s Warning Sign –

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