You look down to see that your urine is tinged pink or appears downright red, and you realize that there’s blood in your urine. Naturally, you’re concerned.
For women, the presence of blood in urine is fairly common and can be the result of a number of different conditions, some of which are perfectly normal while others are more serious.
To give you an idea about the many ways in which blood can make its way into your urine, Dr. Denise Molina Furlong and our team here at Chicago Center for Women’s Health have pulled together the following information on some of the more common drivers of hematuria, which is the medical term for blood in urine.
Visible blood in your urine
There are two different types of hematuria — gross and microscopic. When you have gross hematuria, you can see the blood in your urine, while microscopic amounts aren't visible to the naked eye.
The following are common drivers of gross hematuria:
The presence of blood in women’s urine is a common occurrence, especially when you account for your periods. When you urinate during your period, blood can also seep out of your vaginal canal and mix with your urine.
In these cases, the bloody urine isn’t cause for concern, as it doesn’t stem from your urinary tract.
Urinary tract infections (UTIs)
Women are more susceptible to urinary tract infections — about 40-60% experience a UTI in their lifetimes — and blood in urine is a common symptom. This occurs because the walls of your urethra and/or bladder are inflamed and infected, causing them to shed blood into your urine.
We can very easily remedy a UTI with a quick course of antibiotics, which should clear up the blood and other symptoms.
If you have an infection in your kidney, you may notice blood in your urine, as well as fever and pain. Here again, antibiotics should be able to clear up the infection.
Kidney or bladder stones
If you develop kidney or bladder stones, they can scratch or tear your urinary tract, causing blood to appear in your urine. If this is the case, the blood in your urine may be the least of your complaints, as stones of these kinds can be very painful.
If your kidneys incur damage, such as a direct strike or being bounced violently, they can shed blood into your urine. As the tissues heal, the blood should diminish.
Causes of microscopic hematuria
If you have visible blood in your urine, you might think that it’s something serious, but the opposite is often true with hematuria.
If you have microscopic amounts of blood in your urine, which we can detect during a urinalysis, it may indicate a very serious condition, such as cancer in your urinary tract. Polycystic kidney disease can also lead to microscopic hematuria.
Again, you will likely not be aware of the blood, and we may only find it during an urinalysis.
The best way to find out what’s causing blood to appear in your urine is to contact us at one of our two locations in Bedford Park or Oak Lawn, Illinois, to set up an appointment.