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Blood in Urine


What is blood in the urine?

Blood in the urine is called hematuria. Microscopic hematuria means that the blood is seen only when the urine is examined under a microscope. Gross hematuria means that there is enough blood in the urine to be seen without a microscope. If you think your child has blood in his urine, call your healthcare provider.

How does it occur?

Blood in the urine is a sign that something is causing bleeding in the urinary tract. The urinary tract includes the kidneys, the ureters (tubes that carry urine from the kidneys to the bladder), the bladder, and the urethra (tube that carries urine from the bladder out of the body). Some common causes of blood in the urine are:

  • urinary tract infection
  • strenuous exercise
  • an immune reaction following an infection, such as a cold
  • injury to any part of the urinary tract (for example, falling off a bike might bruise your child's kidney).

Less common causes of blood in the urine in children include:

  • kidney disease
  • a disease such as sickle cell anemia or systemic lupus erythematosus
  • blood thinning medicines such as heparin, warfarin (Coumadin), or aspirin-type medicines penicillins sulfa-containing drugs cyclophosphamide (Cytoxan)
  • kidney or bladder stones
  • a tumor in the urinary tract.

How is it diagnosed?

If your child has blood in her urine, the healthcare provider will ask about other symptoms and examine your child. If the cause is clear, your child will be treated. If the cause isn't clear, your child may need to have:

  • urine tests
  • blood tests
  • ultrasound scan of the bladder and kidneys
  • other radiological tests.

How is it treated?

The treatment of blood in the urine depends on its cause. Your doctor will help explain what course of treatment is best for your child.

How long does blood in the urine last?

How long blood in the urine lasts depends on its cause. For example, blood in the urine related to strenuous exercise usually goes away within 1 or 2 days after the exercise. Blood in the urine from a urinary tract infection will end when the infection is cured. Other causes might take longer to clear up.

What can I do to help my child?

Again, the most important advice is to find out the correct cause. In the meantime, your child should:

  • Drink proper amounts of fluids. Ask your healthcare provider how much fluid your child should drink each day.
  • Switch to a less intense exercise program if necessary.
  • Follow the healthcare provider's advice for regular urine testing so you will know if your child has blood in the urine again.

Developed for RelayHealth Adapted for pediatric patients by Robert Brayden, MD.
Published by RelayHealth.
Last modified: 2011-02-09
Last reviewed: 2010-10-13

This content is reviewed periodically and is subject to change as new health information becomes available. The information is intended to inform and educate and is not a replacement for medical evaluation, advice, diagnosis or treatment by a health care professional.

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