Share this Image On Your Site
Blood in urine is a very common condition that many might experience. In this article, we will identify some of the causes of blood in the urine and discuss the most common cause which is urinary stones.
Common causes of blood in urine
- Urinary tract infections
- Stones in the urinary system
- Growths in the urinary system, some of which can be cancerous
- Enlargement of the prostate in men
- Medications that can cause bleeding such as aspirin or anticoagulants like warfarin.
- Less commonly, kidney inflammation like glomerulonephritis ( the bleeding in these conditions tend to be picked up on urine analysis rather than seeing blood in the toilet bowl )
These stones are usually made of of minerals and crystals like calcium oxalate, uric acid, struvite or cysteine. When the patient do not drink enough water or if there is an excess or build up of these minerals in the urinary systems, stones can occur.
- Pain : If the stones are formed in the kidneys, you can experience back pain especially in the loin If the stones are in the bladder, you can experience lower abdominal pain. And if the stones are stuck in the ureter - you can experience intense loin to groin pain which can be excruciating
- Blood in the urine : Stones in the urinary system is amongst the top cause of blood in the urine. They can cause damage to the lining of the urinary system and that can cause trauma and bleeding.
- Infection : Stones can cause urinary tract infections, that can lead to smelly urine, pain on urination, frequency and urgency. In severe cases, that can lead to fever and extreme feeling of unwell. This is urgent and immediate medical attention is required.
- Swelling of kidney : Stones can result in a complete blockage of urine flow from the kidney that can result in a swelling of the kidney in a condition called hydronephrosis. This could lead to irreversible kidney damage and failure. This is a medical emergency that needs to be treated immediately.
- Urinalysis showing blood in the urinary system
- X-ray of the urinary system
- CT scans
Treatment of stones depend on the size of the stones.
Stones that are small are often treated conservatively. They are usually less than 1 cm. Painkillers like Panadol and NSAIDs can be given. Drinking plenty of water can flush these stones out of your body.
Bigger than 1 cm, treatment is not as straightforward as they tend to get stuck.
Some of the methods of stone removal done by the urologist includes :
- Shockwave lithotripsy to blast these larger stones into smaller pieces so that they can be passed out
- Surgical removal of the stones
- Endoscopic removal of the stones
Take note that if you have had stones before, your risk of having recurrent stones again in the next 5 years is as high as 50%. So to reduce the risk of it happening again,
- Drink plenty of plain water - you can take 10-12 cups of water a day
- Eat more fruits and vegetables
- Cut down on meat
See your doctor if you notice blood in your urine. It is never normal and do not ignore this problem as it need to be evaluated urgently.
By : Dr Chen Yiming
Family Physician, MBBS (Singapore), GDFM (NUS), GDFP Dermatology (NUS)