If you see blood in your urine, it’s important you arrange to speak with your doctor as soon as possible. Also known as hematuria, blood in urine – which can seem pinkish, reddish or brownish - can be a marker for several conditions, ranging from mild infections to cancer. Sometimes blood may show up in urine just once. In other cases, it can be a recurring event. Regardless of how often it happens, hematuria is something to be taken seriously and your doctor will be able to help you discover the cause, which may involve scheduling several tests.
Hematuria can be caused by a range of factors including:
- Kidney stones
- Enlarged prostate
- Urinary tract infection (UTI)
- Bladder cancer
- Vigorous exercise
In some cases, the red coloring in your urine might not actually be blood. Red coloring in urine can come from:
- Food: Certain foods, like beetroot, blackberries, blueberries, and rhubarb, can turn urine red or pink.
- Medication: Some medications can cause the discoloration of urine.
If you think food or medicine might be the cause of discoloration, the red color of your urine could disappear in a few days. However, you should still contact your doctor when you notice discoloration because most people have a difficult time telling the difference between blood and other coloring in urine.
During your doctor's appointment, you'll be asked several questions linked to the symptoms you're experiencing. These questions will allow the doctor to get a better idea of what may be the cause, which will then assist them with deciding which tests should be done. Some of the things the doctor will need to know include:
- Your medical history, which may include whether you smoke, if you've ever had kidney stones, or details about your menstrual cycle.
- What medications you're currently taking and the dosage for each.
- If you've had radiation therapy in the past.
- What your profession is so they can determine ongoing exposure to any chemicals.
- Whether you're experiencing any pain, especially while urinating.
- How often you’re seeing blood in your urine — regularly, occasionally, or rarely.
- When during the urine stream you noticed the blood.
- What color the urine was — whether it was slightly tinted with a pink or dark rust color, for example.
- Whether you’ve noticed any blood clots during urination and how big they are.
As the patient, you should come prepared to speak about all the symptoms you've been experiencing as well as when they started. Even if you don't think the symptoms are related to the hematuria, it's better to give too much information than not enough. Your physician will be able to sort out what is and isn't crucial information.
If you're currently battling an infection or any other condition, be sure to make your doctor aware of it as well as what medications you're on to treat it. If you know about your family's medical history and know that kidney diseases tend to run in your family, it's a good idea to mention this to the physician as well. Finally, it's a good idea to prepare a list of questions to ask the doctor.
Everyone is different so the chances are that two people won't have the exact same questions to ask. There are, however, some common queries that should be on your list. These questions will help you understand what hematuria can be symptomatic of and what to expect going forward. Some questions you can ask during your first visit include:
- What does blood in urine indicate? This will likely be the most pressing question you have, and the answer can vary from something benign to something requiring long-term treatment. Your doctor won't be able to tell you at the first appointment what the cause for the blood in urine is, but they will likely be able to give you their hypotheses on the matter.
- How is bladder cancer diagnosed? When it comes to what to ask your doctor about bladder cancer, this question should be at the top of your list. If your doctor suspects the hematuria is a result of bladder cancer, they will order further tests to diagnose it accurately. These tests can range from a non-invasive urine test like Cxbladder to invasive tests like a cystoscopy. Either way, you'll want to know what the test entails and how accurate the results will be.
- What are my options? The doctor will explain the various tests conducted when someone experiences hematuria, including what they test for, and how they work. Depending on the severity of the hematuria and other risk factors, you could be instructed to have multiple types of urine tests — a urine culture test or a Cxbladder test — some imaging tests, or more detailed tests, like a cystoscopy. The choice of test depends on whether your doctor suspects the hematuria is signalling bladder cancer or something else.
- Which tests are invasive and which are non-invasive? Testing for bladder cancer can be invasive, sometimes requiring the doctor to insert tools through the urethra to examine it. But with the advancement of technology, there are accurate tests for bladder cancer that are non-invasive, such as Cxbladder which also includes the option of in-home sampling.
- Are there risks or side effects associated with the tests? This is always an important question to ask regardless of the reason for your doctor's appointment because it will let you know if any new symptoms that arise are something to be concerned about or just a temporary result of tests.
- When and how will I get my results? Test results are always sent back to your general physician, who then decides on a course of action going forward. Most doctors' offices only call patients with their test results if there's cause for concern or further testing is necessary. However, you can request that your doctor inform you of your test results regardless of what they are. The doctor will also let you know how long the results will take. Cxbladder test results take 7 working days once your urine sample reaches our lab.
- What happens if I do have bladder cancer? While there is a chance that the hematuria you're experiencing is because of a UTI or kidney stones, it's always good to be prepared for the worst-case scenario. Your doctor will be able to walk you through the diagnosis and treatment options available.
- Can you explain the treatment options? Treatment will vary based on the specific cause of the hematuria, so it may be helpful to ask the doctor for an outline of treatment options for potential diagnoses. The doctor will let you know whether you can be treated with medication, like antibiotics, or if more advanced treatment options will be necessary.
- Why is it important to detect bladder cancer early? Your doctor will explain how, with most cancers, early detection can be the difference between how successful or unsuccessful treatment is. The earlier cancer is detected, the better the chance of treatment being effective.
Ask Your Doctor About Cxbladder
If you're experiencing blood in your urine, talk to your doctor about Cxbladder, a non-invasive and easy-to-use genomic urine test designed to quickly and accurately detect or rule out bladder cancer.
Working at a molecular level to measure five biomarker genes, Cxbladder offers reliable results that, when combined with other forms of testing, can help reduce the need for further invasive procedures.
For more information about Cxbladder and bladder cancer, download our free patient discussion guide today or contact our Customer Service team for more information.
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