Blood in urine (haematuria) 

Introduction 

Questions your doctor may ask you

  • When did you first notice blood in your urine?
  • Do you have any other symptoms, such as burning when you urinate or pain in your tummy?
  • Do you feel you have to urinate more frequently?
  • Have you had this before?
  • Does your urine smell odd?
  • Have you recently eaten beetroot?
  • Do you smoke? (smoking is the most common cause of bladder cancer)

Kidney problems

What can go wrong with your kidneys and why, including kidney disease, kidney stones and kidney cancer

Finding blood in your urine can be very frightening and must be investigated by a doctor, but it's rarely a sign of anything life threatening.

If you notice bright red blood in your urine, or if your urine has turned reddish or brownish because it has red blood cells in it, see your GP.

Sometimes, urine may contain only a small amount of blood invisible to the naked eye and is only apparent in a laboratory when a urine test is carried out for something else. This will still need to be investigated by your doctor, as healthy urine should not contain any detectable amounts of blood.

The medical name for blood in the urine is haematuria. If the blood in the urine is obvious with the naked eye, it is called "macroscopic", or "visible haematuris". If the blood can only be detected with laboratory testing, it is called "microscopic", or "invisible".

The blood will have come from somewhere within the urinary tract – the kidneys, bladder or the tubes that urine passes through. It is often the result of a urinary tract infection (UTI) such as cystitis.

This page outlines the most common reasons for blood in the urine to give you an idea of what may be causing the problem. However, this guide should not be used to self-diagnose your condition, and it's important you see your GP for a proper diagnosis of the cause.

Is there definitely blood in the urine?

Before you read on, it is worth considering whether you have recently eaten beetroot, as this can colour the urine pink and cause unnecessary alarm. Also, some medicines, such as the antibiotic nitrofurantoin, can turn the urine brown or red.

Check that the blood is actually coming from your urine and not your vagina (if you're a woman) or back passage.

Common causes of blood in the urine

These include:

  • cystitis (a bladder infection), which typically causes a burning pain when you urinate.
  • kidney infection – you may also have a high temperature (38ºC or above) and pain in the side of your tummy
  • kidney stones, which may be painless but can sometimes block one of the tubes coming from your kidneys and cause severe tummy pain
  • inflammation of the urethra, the tube that carries urine out of the body – this is known as urethritis, and is often caused by the sexually transmitted infection chlamydia
  • an enlarged prostate gland – this is a common condition in older men and nothing to do with prostate cancer: an enlarged prostate gland will press on the bladder and cause problems such as difficulty urinating and a frequent need to urinate
  • prostate cancer – this is usually only seen in men aged over 50 and usually progresses very slowly: it can often be cured if caught and treated early
  • bladder cancer – again, this is usually only the cause in people aged over 50
  • kidney cancer – this usually affects adults aged over 50, is often detected on scans done for other conditions, and can be cured if caught early

You can read more about these conditions by clicking on the above links.

Do I need to see a specialist?

Your GP should refer you urgently to a specialist, usually a urologist, if any of the following apply:

  • you have visible blood in your urine and no pain, and tests show there is no infection
  • you are 40 or over and keep getting urinary tract infections and blood in your urine
  • you are 50 or over and a urine test picks up unexplained blood in your urine
  • you have a mass in your abdomen (a possible tumour) that was picked up during physical examination by your doctor or via a scan
  • invisible haematuria is picked up in a test, particularly if there is also protein found in the urine – this will be investigated by a nephrologist (kidney specialist) rather than a urologist.

Page last reviewed: 14/01/2013

Next review due: 14/01/2015

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Comments

The 20 comments posted are personal views. Any information they give has not been checked and may not be accurate.

chilcs27 said on 16 October 2014

There appears to be no prominent link on this web page to the NHS campaign called "Blood In Pee" or even to the page "Blood In Urine 2".
Perhaps it might be considered when the page is updated
Here is the information from another NHS Choices page which features at the top of Google when you search Blood In Pee
"How to spot bladder and kidney cancer
Blood in your pee is a key symptom of both types of cancer. Other symptoms can include... Read more... "

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Worried mum 78 said on 15 October 2014

I've had very bad blood in my urine for nearly two months now, obviously when it first started, I rushed to the doctors in a blind panick. All blood and urine results have come back negative for infection and I was referred to a urologist for a cystoscopy and ultra sound. The ultrasound showed a collection of gall stones and a possible kidney stone lodged in my kidney. I've since had a ct scan and I am waiting for my results. I've not had any of the usual symptons of kidney stones, I wasn't really experiencing any pain but I did and do however suffer with very low pelvic/abdominal pains. I had been clear if blood in my urine for about two weeks when suddenly today I started experiencing this lower pain and lo and behold, ended up peeing blood again today. I have worked myself up into such a state over this, it's taken over my life.... I still have fifteen days until I get my ct results. Nobody on here has really said anything about the outcome of their situation? Is there anybody that has had any similar experiences as me?? I just can't see that this is the cause of one kidney stone!! Especially with the pain in the lower tummy area! Surely I would have felt pain somewhere else too?? I am so scared, I've been to the doctors more times these last two months than I ever have in my life! Just really need to know now!!

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naras said on 13 September 2014

valleyboy69, My problem is similar to you. But just started 1 month ago. Blood is showing up in urine. Though the urine is completely white gp says blood in there. one week i was antibiotics. urine test came normal, no infection. I also have burring sensation on right lower abdomen, it is bearable pain but its not comfortable for now. I have given X ray, results have not come yet. blood tests came normal. can you please let me know how you are progressing? is your problem sorted out? your reply would be very much appreciated.

Thank you so much
Regards
nara

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naras said on 13 September 2014

valleyboy69, My problem is similar to you. But just started 1 month ago. Blood is showing up in urine. Though the urine is completely white gp says blood in there. one week i was antibiotics. urine test came normal, no infection. I also have burring sensation on right lower abdomen, it is bearable pain but its not comfortable for now. I have given X ray, results have not come yet. blood tests came normal. can you please let me know how you are progressing? is your problem sorted out? your reply would be very much appreciated.

Thank you so much
Regards
nara

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Miss Never Well said on 26 June 2014

Hi All, I'm from Canada. I'm over 50 and within the last two weeks experienced acute "mechanical" back pain after overextending myself to switch off the power bar. After contacting a telelhealth nurse, who suggested having it checked out at Emergency, I was given a urine test as a routine, and was shocked to find out there were microscopic traces of blood in the urine, which the ER doctor said may be related to kidney stones, but assured me that was not the cause of my back pain. Interestingling enough, I was also diagnosed with fibromyalgia. My mother had kidney stones and had her kidney removed. My father's side of the family also have trouble with kidneys. The doctor ordered a CT scan but I couldn't do it at the scheduled time because I had to return to work. When I researched information about CT, I was alarmed at the toxicity and potential for allergic reaction to the dye, as well as the extra radiation emitted. I am now asking my GP to do an ultrasound instead. I am wondering if environmental factors can cause it - I'm a school crossing guard and the one whom I replaced died of gynecological related cancer, and the husband of the mother who drives me whom had severe pain with kidney stones that sent him to ER. It's reassuring to hear that some of you have had tests and nothing showed up.

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AutaB said on 27 March 2014

I have had three urine samples recently that all show blood as being present. I am now being referred to the haematuria clinic. I have no other symptoms but am now worried .

In the past I have suffered a lot from cystitis and there was always blood present then - it ever seems to go away but I am reading the Internet and getting myself in a bit of a state now :(

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AutaB said on 26 March 2014

I went for a routine over 50 NHS check a few weeks back and there was blood in my urine. Two more test later and still have blood so have now been referred to a clinic. I used to get cystitis regularly and blood always showed up then but I am so worried it maybe something serious. I don't have any symptoms of anything like back pain or stomach pain etc, but I'm still worried.

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ReBeCcA Gi said on 21 March 2014

hi. i went for a routine urine test and it showed trace of blood, i had this 5 years ago, at that time i had an xray and scans on kidney and bladder, and this time i have had scans, and a camera in my bladder and an internal examination both have which found nothing, have had sevaral urine test over this time and still showing trace blood, i am awaiting a ct scan now. the specialist did explain to me that lots of woman have this and they do all the test and never find anything, its just one of those things. but they do all the tests just to rule anything out. just want to get it all over with now. it does play on your mind!!!! but they havent found anything yet so that has to be good news.

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pixie55 said on 12 February 2014

Being a 55yrs old female, I have recently had Cancer and treatment. However although it has been 2 yrs now since I finished treatment I have on a regular basis had blood in my urine. I had a CT urogram and was told I had cysts on my kidneys but to day they have said there is no apparent reason for me to keep having blood in my urine. Although they did say that I have diverticular disease which is common in most people over 50. Although I am experiencing a fair amount of discomfort in my lower back and side, my abdomen is fine.
So what is the cause for me to continue getting blood in my urine? It would seem that no one wants to find the source because I have had cancer which I hasten to add was in my neck and tonsil.
It seems to me that any abnormalities that may now be happening is constantly being referred to as oh you had cancer.
So am now at a loss as to which way to go with this problem.

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Lainey66 said on 06 November 2013

Ive had excessive blood and protein in my urine for the past 10 years! and was told that everything is fine, and not to worry! its hard not too when you hear all the horror stories! I have a constant backache around the kidney area, surely this cannot be right!

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Emmy006 said on 03 November 2013

I've discovered blood in my urine 3 times now. I did a urine sample and gave it to my doctor about 3 days ago, but heard nothing since so far. I feel so frustrated and worried, there seems to be no sense of urgency considering the alarming adverts spread across the current media. This could be serious and I feel totally demoralised by doctors; all I want are my results or reassurance.

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wallace57 said on 29 October 2013

I have been to the dr with blood in my urine(bright red) I was put on antibiotics, this cleared up, a week or so later i started to have blood in my urine again, i phoned for some more antibiotics but was told i could not have any as the sample sent to the lab was clear.
I'm due to see the doctor this week there seams to be no urgency from them to follow this up despite all the TV adverts on this

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Jennysgems said on 16 October 2013

I was diagnosed with bladder cancer in 2004, I was 45 years old. I was terrified expecting a death sentence. Luckily it was found early enough. I had surgery and one dose of chemo straight into my bladder. I had a few very small tumours later on but they were dealt with a laser. I have a cystoscope every year and have been clear now for 3 years. I packed up smoking and I think that because I no longer smoke the bladder cancer has not returned. So if you experience blood in your urine. Don't bury your head in the sand visit a doctor ASAP

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shelliebabe said on 11 October 2013

basically ive got fresh blood in my wee ive been doctors they done dip stick tests and seen there blood then im sent home told to return in two weeks and in mean time im at home suffering in pain bleeding ive no womb just one ovary after having hysterectomy but to me it seems they dont care any way just thought id say

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rockinhippy said on 07 October 2013

To those of you with blood in urine, but no answers after tests, my experience might be something else for you to consider.

I've had rather same thing showing for years & years, every test going, some kidney disfunction, but no obvious reasons for the bleeding problem - my Kidney specialist has been very thorough though, wanted an answer, which I now have, but that's come about as I have other health problems too, initially diagnosed as Fibromyalgia & M.E.

That turned out to be wrong & I actually have Ehlers Danlos Syndrome a type lll ( aka joint Hypermobility syndrome) Even though I wouldn't have considered myself to be that flexible as it was my normal - my Daughter was diagnosed after a series of injuries - then my mum.

This is an hereditary collagen defect, so can affect all kinds of things - including according to my kidney specialist - causing this blood in the urine

In this instance it's apparently nothing to worry about, but as EDS is under diagnosed, it could be a cause for others here too

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rexrex4 said on 28 September 2013

Having read on the benefits of lemon and honey in hot water I think I exceeded the amount and must have had about three kilos of lemmon and at least one kilo of honey in 8 days. As a result I suddenly started producing very red urine. I now quit the mix and am back to my old fashion black tea and littl milk and my urine seems to be going back to normal. Did i come across a new cleansing system?. Many tanks. Rex gifford -peru

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inkspot said on 26 September 2013

Frostycat...may I ask what tests you had? I had a cystoscopy last year but was so upset with how I was treated that I have not bothered going back to my gp after the negative results from the cystoscopy. I can't bear the thought of any other invasive tests and just wondered what other tests you had had. Thanks.

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valleyboy69 said on 22 August 2013

well i were seen by a urologist who carried out a number of procedures includeing a ct scan and found nothing but invisble blood is still showing in my urine so think my gp needs to refer me to a nephrologist as there is protein aswell showing,this is annoying now as just want the problem solved.

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Frostycat said on 18 August 2013

I am a woman of 54 and I have shown blood in my urine for literally years. No cause has ever been found, despite every test under the sun. I hope by now you have a favourable outcome, but if you still have no answers, try not to worry. They will exclude the most dangerous conditions first, and in the end they may just have to admit defeat. It's a very frightening thing to have, but by no means always has a bad outcome. I just live with mine!

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valleyboy69 said on 06 February 2013

i went to my local a+e on 31/12/2012 with pain in my side,i were seen by a dr where they found blood in my urine and said more and prob its kidney stone,i later went to my gp on the 2/2 2013 where i gave a water sample and blood were still showing so the dr sent that away plus sent me for a xray where nothing were found,2 weeks later i went and seen my gp again where once again blood were still in my urine,i were prescribed a course of antibiotics for 7days,that 3rd water sample came back as a infection,i visited my gp again today 6/2/2013 to gave another sample and its still showing blood in my urine,they as now requested a full blood count plus the fact the sample i gave today as been sent to the lab,wouldnt it be better if i were sent for a ultra sound scan as this is really worrying me now and iv also been told xrays dnt really detect kidney stones plus im in no pain.

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