Mayo Clinic: What could be causing a small amount of blood to
show up in urine? I am in my 70s.
in the urine ó hematuria ó can be alarming. Although some
causes of hematuria can be serious, others are fairly harmless
and may clear up with little or no treatment. Either way, it
definitely should be evaluated by a health care provider.
the urine thatís clearly visible is called gross hematuria.
Blood in the urine that isnít clearly visible is called
microscopic hematuria. With gross hematuria, urine may be red
or pink, or similar in color to cola, tea or rust. Gross
hematuria often occurs without other symptoms. It takes little
blood to discolor urine, so youíre probably not losing as
much blood as it may appear. However, heavier bleeding that
involves passing blood clots is an urgent issue that can be
painful and puts you at risk of having a blocked bladder
outlet and inability to pass urine.
first step is to determine if the discoloration is blood.
Urine can become discolored in other ways, such as by blood
proteins (hemoglobin or myoglobin); from eating beets; or
taking certain medications, including some used to treat
urinary tract infections. Occasionally, vaginal bleeding can
be mistaken for hematuria and vice versa. Hematuria in older
adults nearly always indicates the need for an evaluation to
determine the cause of bleeding.
determine what is causing the hematuria, your health care
provider may first order a urine test to determine if bleeding
is caused by a urinary tract or kidney infection. Symptoms of
an infection may include a frequent urge to urinate, burning
with urination, and abdominal pain or pressure. More severe
symptoms, such as a fever, chills, and back or side pain, may
indicate a kidney infection. Even if you donít have
symptoms, urine tests are almost always performed to check for
tests and tests on the blood in the urine often can indicate
if bleeding is coming from within the kidneys, which could
indicate kidney disease or kidney cysts. A family or personal
health history that includes a kidney disease or urinary
stones can provide important clues.
of hematuria being an indicator of cancer somewhere in the
urinary tract increases after age 40. And, in most cases, itís
the first symptom. If suspected, testing for cancer may
include looking for kidney, bladder, prostate or other
potential cancers. A history of smoking, working with
chemicals or dyes, radiation to the pelvic area, and other
factors heighten the risk of urinary tract cancer.
addition to infection, kidney disease and cancer as possible
causes of hematuria, thereís a long list of other
possibilities, with some being more common than others.
Possible causes that are temporary and generally not
worrisome, or are easily addressed, include strenuous exercise
(particularly running), a blow to the kidney area, or various
medications, such as the cancer drug cyclophosphamide or
anticlotting drugs ranging from aspirin to warfarin (Coumadin)
to clopidogrel (Plavix).
possible causes may include an enlarged prostate, kidney or
bladder stones, or a number of inherited kidney diseases, such
as polycystic kidney disease or Alport syndrome. For those of
African descent, sickle cell anemia can be a cause.
fairly common for no cause of hematuria to be found. For older
adults with hematuria of undetermined cause, follow-up testing
usually is recommended. One goal is to determine if the
hematuria was temporary, persistent or intermittent. Another
goal may be to remain watchful ó or take an additional
diagnostic look ó for cancer or another disease that wasnít