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How is Hematuria Evaluated?

Female Urinary Tract
Female Urinary Tract
Medical Illustration Copyright © 2015 Nucleus Medical Media, All rights reserved

Repeat Urine Testing

The next step when microscopic blood is found is to repeat your urine test. This checks that the first finding was correct. You will need to get a mid-stream sample of urine. You will be told to collect your sample only after you have started to pass urine. Uncircumcised men will need to retract their foreskin to get a proper sample. Women will need to spread their labia and clean the opening of the urethra to get a clean sample.

Your health care provider will ask you questions about your health history. They will want to know about any infection, menstruation (period), kidney stones, drugs, or recent kidney injury. Simply repeating the urine test might be all that is needed if no further blood is found.

Male Urinary Tract
Male Urinary Tract
Medical Illustration Copyright © 2015 Nucleus Medical Media, All rights reserved

If Testing Shows Blood and Protein

If protein is also found in the urine along with blood, then more urine tests and blood tests are needed. These tests are done to find out if kidney disease is the cause. Sometimes a kidney biopsy (putting a needle into the kidney) is done to find out if drugs are needed. Many of these health issues do not need treatment.

If Testing Shows Blood but No Protein

If a repeat urine test still shows blood and no protein is found, the next step would involve:

  • blood test for kidney function
  • cystoscopy (a procedure to look inside the bladder)
  • imaging test such as CT scan, MRI or ultrasound to look at the inner and outer parts of the kidney, ureters and bladder.

Cystoscopy
Cystoscopy
© 2010 Terese Winslow, U.S. Govt. has certain rights

Most often no specific cause for blood in the urine is found. You will be asked to do another urine test 1 and 2 years later. If no further blood is found, then no further testing is needed. If you still have blood in your urine, these tests will likely be repeated.

What Increases the Risk of Finding Cancer?

Cancers are not often the cause of microscopic blood in the urine. But there are many health issues that increase the chance that a bladder or kidney tumor is the cause. Seeing blood yourself in the urine ("gross hematuria") is the most worrisome. A history of smoking or current smoking will increase your health care provider's concern about finding cancer.

Issues that Increase the Chance of Cancer

  1. Age over 35 years
  2. Prior visible "gross" blood in the urine
  3. Cigarette smoking (past or current)
  4. Chemicals in the workplace
  5. Prior pelvic radiation for cancer
  6. Prior urological disorder or disease
  7. Irritative voiding symptoms (pain, infection)
  8. Chronic urinary tract infection