What Causes Blood in the Urine?

It’s scary to notice blood in your urine, but the cause isn’t always serious. This symptom — known as hematuria — can be visible to the naked eye or detected only under a microscope.

If you have urine that appears red, pink, cola-colored, or contains blood clots, you have gross hematuria. Microscopic hematuria, on the other hand, is detected by a doctor through urine testing. 

Regardless of whether your hematuria is obvious, it can develop because of potentially life-threatening reasons, so it’s essential to determine their cause.

An estimated 1 in 10 people have hematuria during their lifetime. With our experience at Urology Associates of Southeastern North Carolina, you can rest easy knowing that you’re getting the best care if you have blood in your urine. Our team has these insights into hematuria and the most common reasons behind it.


Sometimes, your lifestyle alone can cause red blood cells to leak into your urine. This might include activities that can jar your bladder, such as strenuous exercise or long-distance running. 

You can also develop discolored urine from eating certain foods, like rhubarb and beets. However, even though your urine may look blood-like or red, these changes in color occur from pigments and other compounds in these foods and typically go away on their own.

Certain medications

Medications are to blame for urinary bleeding in many people. These medications can range from certain laxatives, aspirin, and penicillin to blood thinners and drugs used for cancer treatment. Your risk of having blood in your urine increases by taking any of these medications.


One of the most common causes of hematuria is an infection somewhere in your urinary tract, like your bladder or kidneys. Additional signs of infection might include:

An infection in your kidneys often causes a fever and back pain as well.

Enlarged prostate

Occasional hematuria is fairly common in men over 50 because of prostate changes. Your prostate gland sits immediately below your bladder and surrounds the top of your urethra. As you near middle age, this gland enlarges, causing it to compress your urethra and interfere with urine flow from your bladder. 

Urinary stones

When the minerals in your urine begin to stick together, they can form crystals, and over time, these crystals harden into stones. In many cases, you can have bladder or kidney stones without knowing it. However, as they grow larger, start passing through your urinary tract, or cause a blockage, they can become extremely painful and cause hematuria.

Kidney disease

Less often, hematuria develops because of kidney disease. It results from a disease or inflamed kidney, either on its own or due to another condition, like diabetes. It’s also possible to experience this type of issue because of immune problems, viral or strep infections, and blood vessel diseases.


While hematuria is often the first sign of bladder cancer, it’s more common to have blood in your urine because of noncancerous tumors, infections, stones, and kidney diseases. However, bladder cancer can grow and spread to other parts of your body, so it’s crucial to reach a diagnosis and begin treatment as early as possible.

Don’t ignore discolored urine. Contact our office in Wilmington, North Carolina, to protect your urinary health by calling 910-421-2505. For added convenience, ask about our telemedicine services. And you can always send a message to our team here on our website.

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