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Overview

Bleeding from the kidneys can cause blood to be present in urine and a person presenting with such a sign should present to an emergency room or their primary care doctor in order to be examined and investigated further.

The presence of blood in the urine could be as a result of any issues affecting the urinary system, from the bladder to the ureters, the prostate, bladder, and the urethra. Therefore, it is very important to rule out problems which may affect any of these parts of the urinary system. 

Causes of Blood in the Urine

Blood in the urine (haematuria) can be caused by the following conditions: 

  • Pyelonephritis - this is the medical term for a bacterial infection involving the kidney(s) and this can occur as a result of bacteria entering the organ(s) from either the bloodstream or from the ureter connecting the kidneys to the bladder. The damage caused by the infection to the tissue of the kidney(s) can result in bleeding in the organ(s).
  • Injury to the kidney - trauma to the kidneys can result in a bruise or tear in the tissue and this can cause severe bleeding around the organs which may also present as frank blood in the urine. 
  • Urinary tract infection - these infections occur when pathological bacteria enter the bladder from the urethra. Symptoms may include burning and pain during urination, an increased urge to urinate, and possibly blood being present in the urine. This condition tends to occur more in women due to the shorter distance the bacteria need to travel up the urethra to get to the bladder.
  • Kidney or bladder stones - these stones occur when minerals in concentrated urine form crystals in the kidneys or the ureters. The stones being present don't cause any issues unless they cause an obstruction or are passed through the urinary tract. When the latter occurs, the sharp edges of the stones can hurt the tissue resulting in bleeding.
  • An enlarged prostate - men have the prostate gland which is situated just under the bladder and the function of the organ is to produce semen to carry sperm for purposes of fertilization of an egg for conception. Often, from middle age onward, the prostate starts to enlarge and this can compress the urethra that it surrounds. One of the signs that can occur with prostate enlargement includes the presence of microscopic blood in the urine. An infection of the prostate, called prostatitis, can also cause this problem.
  • Inherited conditions - sickle cell anaemia is a condition associated with a hereditary defect of hemoglobin, the protein that carries oxygen in the bloodstream. This results in the release of the protein from the red blood cell which ends up in the urine.
  • Increased physical exertion - it is rare for strenuous exercise to result in blood in the urine but increased physical exertion may lead to issues such as trauma to organs of the urinary tract, dehydration, or breakdown of red blood cells due to sustained aerobic exercise.
  • Medications - drugs such as penicillin and cyclophosphamide can result in blood in the urine. Anticoagulants and anti-inflammatories can make the user bleed easily and this can also result in an increased risk of blood being present in the urine. 

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