Urine is the liquid that carries waste from your body. It passes from the kidneys to the urinary bladder through tubes called ureters. From the bladder, it exits the body through a tube called the urethra, which opens from the vulva in women and the tip of the penis in men.
When there is blood in your urine, the condition is called hematuria. Sometimes the blood is visible ("gross hematuria"). Sometimes there are microscopic blood cells in urine that you can't see but that show up in a urine tests being done for some other health issue (“microscopic hematuria").
Hematuria by itself is not a condition that usually requires treatment, but it is very important for doctors to discover why there is blood in the urine. Sometimes, blood in the urine does not indicate any serious condition. It may be present simply as a result of strenuous exercise, for example. However, hematuria can also be an indicator of serious conditions, including kidney or bladder cancer, kidney stones, infections or other dangerous health issues.
For that reason, if you have hematuria, doctors will recommend one or more tests to learn more about why there is blood in your urine, including:
- Urine cytology, which collects a urine sample from you for laboratory analysis
- Ultrasound, CT or MRI scans, which use sound waves, radiation or radio waves to produce detailed images of your kidneys, bladder and the tubes that connect them, called "ureters"
- Cystoscopy, which involves inserting a tiny camera into the bladder through the urethra (the tube that carries urine out of the body) and into the bladder
Urologists at UMass are experts in the diagnosis of hematuria and the treatment of the conditions which cause it. For an appointment with one of our specialists, please call 1-508-334-8765.