The sight of red in the toilet can be a startling one. Blood in urine, known as hematuria, can be caused by a wide array of medical issues; some are severe and some are merely inconvenient. Regardless of what you believe the cause to be, consult your doctor any time you experience bloody or unusually dark urine.
Redness or discoloration in urine does not necessarily indicate a medical issue. Often, dark urine can simply be related to a peripheral cause. The first thing to ask yourself is whether you have eaten anything out of the ordinary lately. Beets and similar foods with dark natural dyes are frequent culprits of reddish urine which can be mistaken for blood. According to the University of Maryland Medical Center, certain prescription drugs such as blood thinners and even coloring used in candy can temporarily distort the color and appearance of urine. Trace amounts of blood in urine can even be brought about by overly abrasive toilet paper.
Bloody urine is often a symptom of a problem in the kidneys. Kidney stones often cause blood to seep into urine. Kidney stones are common among young adults and are frequently associated with a family history of the condition and dehydration. Along with distorted urine, they can be identified by severe pain in the midsection, pain during urination, and flu-like symptoms. According to the University of Pennsylvania Health System, other kidney issues potentially involved in bloody urine include kidney disease associated with strep throat, kidney failure, and kidney cancer.
As would be expected, medical issues in the urinary tract can lead to the formation of blood in urine. Urinary tract infections, often simply referred to as UTIs, involve inflammation and irritation in the urinary tract. The National Institute of Health describes the symptoms of UTIs include bloody or cloudy urine, pressure or discomfort in the pelvic region, and frequent painful or burning urination.
Liver conditions can change the appearance of urine, making it cloudy or dark, possibly appearing bloody. Two of the most common liver diseases to cause cloudy urine are hepatitis B and cirrhosis. Hepatitis B is most often associated with dark brown urine, with other symptoms including muscle aches and fatigue, nausea, and a slight fever, per the UM Medical Center. Cirrhosis of the liver can cause both distorted urine and bloody vomiting; jaundice, bleeding hemorrhoids, impotence, swollen legs, and weight loss are other common symptoms.
A physical injury to the pelvic region or midsection could lead to bloody or discolored urine. Blood disorders including sickle cell disease or a clot in the kidneys are also sometimes associated with blood in the urine.
Blood in the urine is never something to take lightly. While it may simply be an innocent discoloration associated with dietary change, it could also indicate problems with the kidneys, urinary tract, liver, or a number of other possible medical issues. Whenever you believe there is blood in your urine, seek a medical professional immediately to be safe.
University of Maryland Medical Center, “Urine – bloody.” University of Maryland.
University of Pennsylvania Health System, “General Urology: Urine – abnormal color.” University of Pennsylvania.
U.S. National Library of Medicine, “Urinary tract infection – adults.” National Institutes of Health.