Blood in the urine or hematuria can be a cause of concern for many people especially when it changes the color of their urine from the usual light yellow to pink or dark red like tea. When the presence of red blood cells in the urine can be out rightly seen, this is called gross hematuria.
But there are times when the blood cannot be seen by the naked eye. This is known as microscopic hematuria.
Urologist Dr. John Kenneth Domingo, in an interview on Radyo Klinika at DWIZ 882 AM said that hematuria may or may not cause pain. “A routine urinalysis can determine if there are red blood cells in a patient’s urine. It will be followed by an ultrasound test if the doctor doesn’t find any infection even with the presence of blood in the urine.”
Dr. Domingo said that hematuria could be a symptom of urinary tract infection; stones in the ureter, bladder or kidneys; or tumor in the kidneys, prostate or bladder. It can also be caused by the enlargement of the prostate gland of male patients as it obstructs the flow of urine from the bladder. Cystic kidney disease or sickle cell anemia can also manifest hematuria. Cancer can also cause microscopic blood in the urine.
Dr. Domingo said that some types of hematuria are painless, especially if it’s coming from a tumor in the kidney. “Stones usually cause pain. The pain could radiate from the back or side of the patient towards the groin or front abdomen. The pain could also be felt in the women’s genitals or the men’s scrotum.”
Aside from the pain at the lower back, side (pelvis) and abdomen or groin area, some patients can also have fever starting at 38 degrees Celsius. They can also experience chills and difficulty in urinating. This usually happens when there’s an infection in the bladder or kidney.
Some medications can also cause blood in the urine, such as aspirin; penicillin; heparin which is used to prevent blood clots in the arteries, lungs and veins; and cyclophosphamide, a chemotherapy drug which slows down or stops cell growth. One of the medicines that could relieve pain in the lower part of the urinary tract—the bladder and urethra—can in fact cause blood in the urine as well. Phenazopyridine is being used to relieve pain and burning sensation and could control the patient’s frequent urge to urinate.
“Vigorous exercise or trauma in the kidneys can also cause blood in the urine. But hematuria is only a symptom. What we need to know is the underlying disease which is causing the blood in the urine,” said Dr. Domingo.
Dr. Domingo reminded everyone to take it easy on the antibiotics. “When a patient is suspecting hematuria or urinary tract infection, he shouldn’t take antibiotics without consulting a doctor. It would be better if he goes to a laboratory for a urinalysis and bring his results to a doctor. For all we know, the blood in the urine could just be a red pigment from medications or from eating too much beets. Or the tea-colored urine could just be a result of concentration due to lack of water.”
Radyo Klinika is a KBP Golden Dove awardee for Best Radio Magazine Program in 2016. It airs every Tuesday to Friday, 7 p.m. to 8 p.m. Its host, Marou Pahati-Sarne, is a two-time KBP Golden Dove awardee for Best Radio Magazine Program Host in 2016 and 2017.
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