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Haematuria - Blood in the Urine

Blood appearing in the urine can be alarming, but most of the time the causes are fairly innocuous. Usually caused by E.Coli infecting the bladder, it can often be treated at home with D'Mannose. See your Doctor and take measures to prevent further infection by maintaining a healthy bladder and urinary tract.

What is Haematuria?

The medical definition of Haematuria is the presence of red blood cells (also known as erythrocytes) in the urine. Haematuria can be benign (non-harmful) or it can be an indication of a number of health conditions affecting the urinary system. Haematuria can range from mild, when only a tiny amount of blood cells are present, visible only under a microscope to more severe where blood is clearly visible in the urine, and the urine appears dark red or brown in colour to the naked eye.

Causes

Haematuria can be idiopathic (with no clear cause) but it can also be symptomatic of a wide variety of underlying conditions affecting the urinary system (Kidney Research UK, 2017).

Conditions that can cause haematuria include:

  • Urinary Tract Infection / UTI (a bacterial infection, most often caused by E.Coli bacteria)
  • Urolithiasis (bladder or kidney stones)
  • Enlarged Prostate (a common condition in older men)
  • Urethritis (inflammation of the urethra)
  • Polycystic Kidney Disease (a genetic disorder where cysts grow on the kidneys)
  • Trauma (injury to the bladder, kidneys or the tubes of the urinary system)
  • Cancer of the kidney, bladder or prostate
  • Glomerulonephritis / Nephritis (inflammation of the kidneys)

Though there are a variety of conditions which can cause blood to appear in your urine, the most common cause is a urinary tract infection or UTI (NHS, 2017). UTIs are bacterial infections of the urinary system (the bladder, kidneys, urethra, etc.) and they are most commonly caused by e.coli bacteria (Flores-Mireles et al, 2015).

Symptoms

In visible haematuria (sometimes called macroscopic haematuria or gross haematuria) the most obvious symptom is the visible presence of blood in the urine. This can cause the urine to change colour to red or brown (Turner 2008). However, it is also worth noting that there are other reasons why your urine may appear pink or reddish in colour. Menstruation, some medications, foodstuffs (such as beetroot) and dyes can all make your urine change colour and can appear similar to haematuria (Muir, 2017). In non-visible haematuria (sometimes referred to as microscopic haematuria) the presence of blood cannot be seen by the naked eye and can only be detected using some form of urinalysis (urine testing). With both visible and non-visible haematuria, however, there are often the same accompanying symptoms (associated with whatever condition is the underlying cause).

Common associated symptoms include:

  • Pain on urinating
  • Difficulty urinating
  • Urinating more frequently than usual
  • Abdominal pain or lower back pain
  • Cloudy or foul smelling urine

Treatment

If you can clearly see blood in your urine, or if it has turned red or brown in colour, do not panic, but do seek medical advice, and a urine test. Whilst it is frightening to see blood in the urine it is most likely nothing to worry about, so see your doctor and eliminate any potentially serious reason. Treatment for haematuria depends on the underlying condition, so it's important to identify the cause first.

The most common cause of haematuria is a UTI or bladder infection. UTIs are not usually serious and often your body is able to fight the infection off within a few days. However, many people suffer from persistent and recurrent UTIs which can be very unpleasant. Bladder infections have the potential to spread to the kidneys, where they can cause more serious problems, so early treatment for UTIs is recommended.

Waterfall D'Mannose is a common supplement used to maintain bladder health. It tricks E.Coli in to attaching to the "wrong" d mannose. Once bacteria are attached to ingested D'Mannose, their removal during urination follows.

Prevention

The best way to prevent haematuria is to maintain good bladder health:

  • Drink plenty of water
  • Maintain good genital hygiene but avoid using harsh chemicals like antiseptics, perfumes etc.
  • When you go to the toilet always fully empty your bladder (without straining)
  • Try D'Mannose

Contact your doctor for advice, and urine sampling. Your doctor will be able to narrow down the cause for you, and in most cases, the blood will be caused by inflammation after or during a urinary tract or bladder infection.

References

Flores-Mireles, A L, Walker, J N, Caparon, M, Hultgren, S J (2015). Urinary tract infections: epidemiology, mechanisms of infection and treatment options. Nature reviews. Microbiology.13(5): 269-84.doi:10.1038/nrmicro3432.

Kidney Research UK (2017). Blood in the Urine. [Accessed Jan 2017]

Muir, G (2017). Haematuria [Accessed Jan 2017]

NHS (2017). Blood in Urine (Haematuria) [Accessed Jan. 2017]

Turner, B (2008). Haematuria: causes and management. Nursing Standard, 2008, 23(1):50-56)

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