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Blood in Urine

When is Blood in Urine a Symptom of Cancer?

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Updated May 16, 2014

Written or reviewed by a board-certified physician. See About.com's Medical Review Board.

Blood in Urine
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Finding blood in your urine can be a frightening experience that may force you to fear the worst. In reality, however, blood in urine, or hematuria, is most likely caused by minor, treatable conditions. In some cases, however, the culprit can be something more serious, like cancer.

What Does Blood in the Urine Look Like?

When you can physically see blood in your urine, it is call gross hematuria. Blood can appear in the urine as a pink, brown or red hue in the urine. Blood clots can be present. Many times blood in the urine is not visible to the naked eye -- a microscopic analysis of the blood can reveal hematuria when it is cannot be physically seen.

Blood in Urine As a Cancer Symptom

When blood is found in the urine, it can be a symptom of certain types of cancer. More than likely it is related to a much less serious condition, like a urinary tract infection (UTI) or kidney stones, but can signal cancer in some cases. Types of cancer known to cause blood to be present in urine include:

Other than cancer, there are a many other reasons why blood may be present in your urine. Common causes include infection, trauma, kidney stones, diabetes, and hypertension.

Is It Really Blood?

You should know that there are instances where it may look like blood is in your urine, but really isn't. For women, an example would be vaginal bleeding that flows from the vagina during urination, giving the false appearance of blood in the urine. Foods like beets and rhubarb and can alter the color of urine, but only usually if you eat a lot of them. Medications can also cause the color of urine to change.

Do Not Ignore Blood in Your Urine

If you think that you have blood in your urine, you need to report it to your doctor, even if you are not sure. A simple urinalysis can confirm the presence of blood in your urine. If you have other symptoms that accompany blood in your urine, like a fever and pain on your side, then you should seek emergency care. The combination of these symptoms is usually caused by an advanced kidney infection.

Secondly, you should avoid treating hematuria with home remedies or herbal supplements. Remember that blood in the urine is a symptom of a disease or other condition. To resolve hematuria, you need to treat the cause, not just symptoms. It really is best to see a doctor and allow them to evaluate why you are having blood in your urine.

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