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How Blood in the Urine is Tested and Treated

How Blood in the Urine is Tested and Treated

By: Urology Care Foundation | Posted on: 14 Oct 2020

Hematuria is blood in the urine. When the urine is red or pink, it could be linked to blood in the urine and is called "gross" or "visible" hematuria. Sometimes, blood is in the urine but is not easily seen and it is called "microscopic" hematuria since it can only be seen under a microscope.

During routine visits to your health care provider, you are often asked to give a urine sample for testing. Blood might be found either using a chemical strip (called a dipstick) or under a microscope. If blood is detected in these ways, then you may have "microscopic hematuria."

How is Hematuria Tested?

Doctors use guidelines about risks to decide what kind of testing is needed for each person. A person at low risk may be able to avoid a lot of testing since their risk for cancer is low. A person at high risk needs a more in-depth testing.

Low Risk Testing. Since patients at low risk rarely have cancer, doctors will likely discuss the benefits and drawbacks of more testing. A common option is to repeat a urine test within 6 months. If that test shows blood in the urine, then more testing is performed. If the repeat test does not show blood, then the patient is simply watched for symptoms.

Intermediate Risk Testing. Patients who are told they have an intermediate risk will be recommended to have a cystoscopy procedure to look at the bladder and a renal ultrasound to look at the kidneys.

High Risk Testing. Those who are at high risk often have a test with a cystoscope to look at the bladder and a computed tomography (CT scan) of the abdomen and pelvis to look at the lining of the urinary tract. The main difference between a CT scan and ultrasound is that the CT scan can find small abnormalities in the kidney and ureters that may be missed by ultrasound.

How is Hematuria Treated?

Most patients with blood in the urine do not have major problems. In fact, for many, a cause is not known. In those patients with a more serious condition, finding this early can be lifesaving. It is of great value to get tested and not ignore these findings especially if blood is seen in your urine.

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