Blood in the urine, or hematuria, may make the urine look red, brown, or pink. There may be blood every time you urinate or just from time to time. You cannot always see blood in the urine, but it will show up in a urine test.
Blood in the urine may be serious. It should always be checked by a doctor. Your doctor may recommend more tests, including an X-ray, a CT scan, or a cystoscopy (which lets a doctor look inside the urethra and bladder).
Blood in the urine can be a sign of another problem. Common causes are bladder infections and kidney stones. An injury to your groin or your genital area can also cause bleeding in the urinary tract. Very hard exercise—such as running a marathon—can cause blood in the urine. Blood in the urine can also be a sign of kidney disease or cancer in the bladder or kidney. Many cases of blood in the urine are caused by a harmless condition that runs in families. This is called benign familial hematuria. It does not need any treatment.
Sometimes your urine may look red or brown even though it does not contain blood. For example, not getting enough fluids (dehydration), taking certain medicines, or having a liver problem can change the color of your urine. Eating foods such as beets, rhubarb, or blackberries or foods with red food coloring can make your urine look red or pink.
Follow-up care is a key part of your treatment and safety. Be sure to make and go to all appointments, and call your doctor if you are having problems. It's also a good idea to know your test results and keep a list of the medicines you take.
When should you call for help?
Call your doctor now or seek immediate medical care if:
You have symptoms of a urinary infection. For example:
You have pus in your urine.
You have pain in your back just below your rib cage. This is called flank pain.
You have a fever, chills, or body aches.
It hurts to urinate.
You have groin or belly pain.
You have more blood in your urine.
Watch closely for changes in your health, and be sure to contact your doctor if:
Care instructions adapted under license by Kaiser Permanente. This care instruction is for use with your licensed healthcare professional. If you have questions about a medical condition or this instruction, always ask your healthcare professional. Healthwise, Incorporated disclaims any warranty or liability for your use of this information.
The Health Encyclopedia contains general health information. Not all treatments or services described are covered benefits for Kaiser Permanente members or offered as services by Kaiser Permanente. For a list of covered benefits, please refer to your Evidence of Coverage or Summary Plan Description. For recommended treatments, please consult with your health care provider.