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Blood in the urine

This can be caused for many reasons. Often there is nothing to worry about. Because of the small risk that this might be the first sign of a cancer somewhere in the urinary system it is usual for you to be investigated properly by a urologist. There is some argument regarding exceptions to this rule. Because of the nature of risk the safest thing is to investigate everybody, but this of course has implications and risks of its own. The most universally agreed reason not to investigate blood in the urine is in a young female non smoker where the bleeding was only at the time of a urinary tract infection. The urine in this patients must be retested after the event to ensure that it is clear of even microscopic traces of blood. Urine dipstick testing is probably too sensitive, positive results can be produced after exercise for example, a more accurate test is to check the urine under the microscope for red blood cells.

What might cause blood in the urine?
This is not an exhaustive list but covers the commoner causes;

  • Infection
  • Stones
  • Varicose veins on the prostate
  • Warfarin
  • Cancer of the kidney, bladder or prostate

What will the doctor do?
The doctor will question you to determine the circumstances of the bleeding. Examine you and organize for you to have a telescopic examination of your bladder and an x-ray or scan of your kidneys.

Will the telescopic test hurt?
No, the test is very simple. It can be performed with or without a general anaesthetic. If performed under local anaesthetic the feeling is of passing water rather than pain. Your doctor will discuss which you are to have.

What is the chance of it being something serious?
This varies greatly according to your age, the circumstances of the bleeding and other risk factors. As an overall figure 1 in 10 people will have an underlying cause for the bleeding that will need treatment. It is however the case that prompt action is the best way to ensure a full recovery.

To see more about the treatment of each disease refer to that section of the web site.

What to do if you see blood in you urine

Do not panic, a little blood goes long way

Drink plenty of water to dilute the blood

Make an appointment to see your GP

If you are unable to pass water but are desperate to go then call for the emergency doctor or attend accident and emergency

Remember most people do not have a serious cause for bleeding but you will need to be seen at the hospital to be investigated

Causes for bleeding

Bladder cancer

Renal Cancer