The condition of blood or trace amounts of blood in urine is medically termed as hematuria. In most cases, it can be detected by change in color of urine to pinkish, reddish, or brownish. Hematuria can occur due to benign causes such as use of certain medications or it can be a symptom of some serious underlying condition disease like kidney diseases, UTIs, or cancers.
Women are more prone to suffering from trace amounts of blood in urine than men. The condition is more prevalent in people within the age group of 37 to 50 years old. Treatment of hematuria is dependent on diagnosis of the underlying causative condition and relevant curative therapies used by the doctor.
Trace amounts of blood in urine may be accompanied by a variety of signs and symptoms. These additional symptoms tend to vary as per the underlying causative illness. A few common symptoms that may occur along with hematuria are listed below:
- Painful urination
- Burning sensations when passing urine
- Frequent and increased urination
- Pain in the flanks
- Appetite loss
- Fatigue or excessive tiredness
- Pain or discomfort in abdomen
- Fever, which may occur with chills
- Swelling of hands, feet, and ankles
- Nausea and/or vomiting
- Rapid heartbeats
- Foul smelling urine
Causes of trace amounts of blood in urine
Some of the common causes of trace amounts of blood in urine are discussed below:
- Kidney diseases: Kidney diseases may occur due to infections or as a complication of chronic conditions like hypertension, diabetes, etc. Kidney problems can adversely affect the filtering system of the organ and cause leakage of blood by the blood vessels. This blood gets released along with urine as trace amounts of blood in urine.
- Urinary Tract Infection: UTIs are the most common cause of hematuria. Bacteria or other pathogens can enter the urinary system via the bloodstream or the urethra and cause infections. The germs can cause inflammation and swelling of different renal tissues like bladder linings, kidneys, urethra, ureters, etc. This can weaken and thin the blood vessels in the tract and make them prone to bleeding, eventually causing trace amounts of blood in urine. It is important to treat UTIs at the earliest cause bacteria can spread to the kidneys and bladder and cause potentially life-threatening conditions.
- Kidney stones: Urine contains calcium, uric acid, oxalates, and other compounds. When these substances occur in high concentration in urine, then they undergo crystallization and develop into small stone-like deposits called kidney stones. Passage of the stones down and across the urinary system can damage the tissues and cause bleeding and trace amounts of blood in urine.
- Prostate enlargement: The prostate gland is situated under the bladder in men and encloses the first section of the urethra. Some men tend to suffer from an enlarged prostate; the causes are usually unknown, but the risk to developing the condition tends to increase with age. An enlarged prostate can exert pressure on the urethra and surrounding renal tissues, which in turn can cause them to bleed. In addition to trace amounts of blood in urine, patients may suffer from incomplete bladder emptying, urinary incontinence, and frequent and problematic urination, etc.
- Cancers: Bladder cancer, kidney cancer, prostate cancer, and malignancies of other renal organs can also cause trace amounts of urine in blood. The tumors tend to tear and damage varied tissues which causes them to bleed. In addition to the common symptoms, patients may also experience weight loss and chronic flank and back pain.
- Sickle cell anemia: It is a genetic condition marked by presence of abnormally shaped red blood cells that do not have the ability to carry adequate amounts of oxygen across the body. Hematuria is one of the symptoms of this severe disease.
- Trauma: Any kind of accident that causes trauma to the abdominal area can result in damage of the kidney or bladder tissues. Such damaged organs may bleed for a short term, thereby leading to trace amounts of blood in urine.
- Vigorous exercising: Strenuous exercising can also cause a temporary case of trace amounts of blood in urine. Doctors are not aware of the exact cause, but dehydration, excessive running, RBC breakdown during aerobic workouts, or bladder trauma are thought to be some of the triggers.
- Medications: Use of medicines like penicillin, quinine, warfarin, rifampin, aspirin, heparin, and phenytoin, etc. as well as the anti-cancer medicine cyclophosphamide may cause hematuria as a side effect.
As stated above, hematuria may occur due to a variety of different underlying conditions. Hence, treatment is dependent on the causative disease. For example,
- Kidney stones are treated with medications or shock wave therapy. Doctors may opt for surgery if other treatment options fail.
- UTIs are usually treated with antibiotics, painkillers, and lifestyle changes.
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