Blood in the urine

Overview

Blood in the urine is sometimes not obvious to the naked eye and only picked up on routine health check. Occasionally patients may pass urine which is obviously blood-stained.

Causes

Blood in the urine may be harmless, but it may also be a symptom of a serious health problem affecting the urinary tract. If the urine is obviously blood stained, it is more likely that there is an underlying cause. Some causes of blood in the urine are:

  • Urinary stones
  • Urinary tract infection
  • Urinary tract cancer
  • Inflammatory disease of the kidneys

Diagnosis

It is important to assess the entire urinary tract, including the kidneys, ureter, bladder (and prostate in men).

Patients may undergo one or more of the following investigations:

  • Blood and urine tests
  • Ultrasound of the kidneys and bladder
  • CT scan of the urinary tract
  • Flexible cystoscopy

What is flexible cystoscopy?

Flexible cystoscopy is a test in which a thin flexible endoscope is inserted into the urinary tract (urethra). The urethra, prostate in males, and the bladder can be thoroughly inspected for any abnormalities. The procedure can be performed using local anaesthetic gel or under intravenous sedation, and it usually takes less than ten minutes.