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Haematuria: Treatment, symptoms, advice and help

About haematuria

Haematuria is defined as presence of blood in the urine which can be either microscopic or macroscopic in appearance. This results from bleeding anywhere in the urinary tract which includes the kidneys, the ureter, the urinary bladder and the urethra. Haematuria is a symptom rather than a disease. Several underlying causes may be responsible for haematuria.

Haematuria: Incidence, age and sex

Haematuria is an uncommon occurrence which can afflict an individual of any age group. However it is mainly seen in adult population. It is more frequent in men as compared with women.

Signs and symptoms of haematuria: Diagnosis

Haematuria is itself a symptom and characterized by presence of blood in urine. The colour of urine may be normal wherein it is termed as microscopic haematuria. Alternatively urine can be red or cola coloured where it is termed as macroscopic haematuria. Microscopic haematuria is characterized by normal appearance of urine wherein the presence of red blood cells can only be detected on microscopic examination. Gross haematuria, also called macroscopic haematuria is characterized by change in colour of urine (due to presence of red blood cells) which is evident with naked eye.

A detailed history and comprehensive physical examination may give a clue to the diagnosis. It is important to get a detailed urine test done including detection of proteins in urine. Invasive test like cystoscopy may also be considered if pathology of bladder is suspected. Imaging test like intravenous pyelography can be advised to diagnose any pathological disorder in kidneys or even functional disorder anywhere in entire urinary tract.

Causes and prevention of haematuria

Several causes may lead to haematuria, of which inflammation of urinary bladder, urethra or prostate is most widely known. A sharp stone in kidney or ureter can cause injury resulting in bleeding. Long standing kidney disorders like polycystic disease or glomerulo-nephritis have a moderate risk of bleeding. Cancer of kidneys, bladder or prostate are rare causes of haematuria. Infrequently physiological cause like strenuous physical exercise may also result in haematuria. Furthermore generalised causes like clotting disorder of blood or sickle cell disease may also lead to haematuria.

Haematuria: Complications

There are as such no complications of haematuria. However the underlying causes of haematuria may result in complicating factors.

Haematuria: Treatment

The first step in management of haematuria is a complete evaluation of the condition and its underlying cause. Subsequent elimination of cause of haematuria is of essential value to prevent further such episodes. Consultation with a nephrologist, an urologist, an oncologist and a haematologist may be needed to detect the exact pathology of haematuria and plan the subsequent treatment. Inflammatory or infective conditions may need a course of antibiotics. If an uretric or a kidney stone is detected, then consumption of plenty of fluids is advised to wash out small stones. Larger stones may need laser ablation or surgical intervention. An oncologist may be consulted if any malignancy is detected. Haematuria due to strenuous physical exercise is a harmless condition and does not require any management.

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