So many things can cause blood in your urine (pee), including infections, vigorous exercise and kidney disease. However, you shouldn’t ignore hematuria (blood in your urine). Healthcare providers can help you find the cause and the best treatment.


Hematuria, or blood in the urine, can be gross (blood visible without a microscope) or microscope.
Urine can tell a health story, with colors ranging from pale yellow to yellow to amber to red, with red possibly indicating bloody urine (hematuria).

What is blood in urine (hematuria)?

Hematuria is the medical name for the presence of blood cells in urine (pee). Healthcare providers label blood in urine as gross, microscopic or dipstick.

  • Gross hematuria occurs when there's enough blood present in your urine that it's visible to the naked eye. It can turn toilet water a pale pink or bright red color.
  • Microscopic hematuria happens when your urine has blood in it, but the amount is too small for humans to see. In fact, you need a microscope to see it.
  • Dipstick hematuria results when oxidation of a urine test strip causes a color change. It doesn’t always mean that blood cells are present in your urine. Dipstick tests have relatively high false-positive rates.


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How common is blood in urine?

Blood in urine is a common finding. It affects an estimated 2% to 30% of the U.S. adult population.

Symptoms and Causes

What are the causes of hematuria?

There can be a number of different causes of blood in your urine, some more serious than others. These conditions can involve infections or stones, including:

Other conditions leading to blood in urine may include:

  • Enlarged prostate (benign prostatic hypertrophy): In this non-cancerous condition, your prostate becomes larger. The prostate is a body part that produces semen.
  • Injury to your urinary tract: You have blunt or penetrating trauma from accidents or assault.
  • Menstruation: You may see blood in your urine when you have your period.
  • Endometriosis: In this condition, fragments of the inner lining of the uterus grow in places other than inside the uterus.
  • Kidney (renal) disease: With this chronic condition, damage to your kidneys means they don’t work as well.
  • Sickle cell disease: This inherited condition affects your red blood cells.

In addition to these other conditions, cells growing uncontrollably in certain body parts — what we know as cancer — can cause blood in your urine. These conditions include:


What are the signs and symptoms of hematuria?

Many times, there are no symptoms except blood in your urine. When this happens, your providers may say that you’re “asymptomatic.” If you're having symptoms, this may include frequent or painful urination or urination that is urgent or needs to happen “right away.” There can also be associated nausea, vomiting, fevers, chills or pain in your back or lower abdomen.

Although blood in your urine doesn’t always mean you have a disease, it can be an important warning sign to a possible health problem.

Don’t ever ignore bloody urine. Contact a healthcare provider as soon as you find blood in your urine, as earlier detection for any problem is helpful.

Diagnosis and Tests

How is hematuria diagnosed?

During your appointment, your healthcare provider will take a medical history and perform a physical examination that might include a pelvic exam or a digital rectal exam. These things will help your provider understand your symptoms better. Your provider may order other tests. These tests may include:

  • Urinalysis: A test on a urine sample.
  • Urine culture: A urine test that checks for an infection.
  • Urine cytology: A urine test that checks for any abnormal-appearing cells.
  • Cystoscopy: A test that uses a device called a cystoscope to look at the inside of your bladder and urethra.
  • Ultrasound:A test that uses ultrasound waves to examine your kidney, ureters and bladder.
  • Computed tomography (CT) scan: A test that uses X-rays and computers to make cross-sectional images of your abdomen and pelvis.
  • Magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) scan: A test that uses a large magnet, radio waves and a computer to produce images of your organs and structures.


Management and Treatment

How is blood in urine treated?

Treating blood in your urine depends strongly on the actual cause of the hematuria. Your provider will use the information collected from your medical history, physical exam and test results to work with you to find the best treatment.

Medications to treat causes of blood in urine

  • For hematuria caused by infections, your provider will prescribe antibiotics. These antibiotics work by killing the bacteria causing the infection, which should stop the bleeding.
  • For an enlarged prostate, urologists typically use two classes of medications to treat this condition: alpha-blockers and the 5-alpha-reductase inhibitors.
  • For cancer, your provider will conduct treatment that best fits the stage and level of the disease and is in line with your goals of care. This may include surveillance, surgery, radiation, immunotherapy, chemotherapy, hormone therapy or combinations of these options.
  • For sickle cell disease, your provider may prescribe disease-modifying agents like hydroxyurea, pain medications, antibiotics and drugs that prevent blood cells from dying or forming into sickles.
  • For kidney disease, your provider may prescribe several different types of medications. These may include diuretics, drugs to lower blood pressure and cholesterol, and erythropoietin to build red blood cells if you’re anemic.
  • For endometriosis, your provider may suggest hormone-related medications.

Other ways to treat causes of blood in urine

  • For hematuria caused by an enlarged prostate that isn’t relieved by medications, your provider may suggest surgery.
  • For kidney disease, you might need dialysis to filter out waste or even a kidney transplant.
  • For cancers, your urologist may be part of a multidisciplinary care team.

What complications are related to blood in urine?

Treatments for causes of hematuria, including medications and procedures, may each have side effects. These vary by the type of treatment.

However, untreated hematuria could lead to bigger problems, especially if the cause is more serious than vigorous exercise. A healthcare provider should treat any condition that causes blood in your urine. If the cause is something like cancer or kidney disease, early detection leads to early treatment. These things lead to better outcomes.


Who is at risk for blood in their urine?

People who are most likely to have blood in their urine are those with existing diseases known to cause hematuria, such as infections of the urinary system, urological anatomical abnormalities, family histories of urologic diseases and certain genetic conditions. For instance, you may be more at risk if you have a kidney disease or kidney stones or a family history of kidney disease.

You may also be more at risk if you take certain types of medications, such as blood thinners and some types of pain relievers. This shouldn’t delay the same workup if you do see blood in your urine.

However, certain actions may increase your chances of having blood in your urine. These include:

  • Smoking.
  • Overusing pain medications.
  • History of radiation exposure and certain chemicals.
  • Occupational risks (metals, fumes, dyes, rubbers).
  • Exposure to certain chemicals and/or radiation.
  • Running or jogging for long distances.
  • Vigorous sexual activity.

You may decrease your chances of having blood in your urine by avoiding some of these behaviors. It’s true that staying properly hydrated by drinking enough fluids — preferably, water — is good for your urinary tract and your body. If you’re dehydrated, your pee is darker in color. If you’re extremely dehydrated, you could possibly have bloody urine.

Living With

When should I contact my doctor?

You shouldn’t ever ignore blood in your urine. It’s important to contact a healthcare provider if you see blood in your urine or if you have other symptoms related to hematuria.

A note from Cleveland Clinic

There’s no need to panic if you see blood in your urine, especially if you have your period or you’ve just eaten something like beets. However, it’s a good idea to give your healthcare provider a call. It’s better to catch any kind of condition early, even if it’s just a UTI. Your provider will work with you to find out what’s causing blood in your urine and a successful treatment.

Medically Reviewed

Last reviewed on 08/16/2022.

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