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Blood in Urine

What does blood in the urine look like?

Even a small amount of blood can make the urine look pink, red, or sometimes brown. Sometimes the blood can be seen only with a microscope.

Blood in the urine should always be checked by your healthcare provider.

What causes blood in urine?

The urinary tract includes the:

  • Kidneys, which make urine
  • Ureters, which are the tubes that carry urine from the kidneys to the bladder
  • Bladder, which stores urine
  • Urethra, which is the tube that drains urine from the bladder

A number of things may cause bleeding in the urinary tract. Some common causes of blood in the urine are:

  • Kidney or bladder infection
  • Intense exercise
  • A reaction of your immune system after an infection, such as a cold
  • Injury to any part of the urinary tract (for example, a fall might bruise the kidney)

Less common causes of blood in the urine in children are:

  • Kidney disease
  • Some diseases, such as sickle cell anemia or lupus
  • Some medicines, like antibiotics or medicines that help prevent blood clots
  • Bladder or kidney stones
  • A tumor in the urinary tract
  • An infection of the prostate gland or epididymis (the firm tube at the back of a boy’s or man’s testicle)

Certain kinds of foods, such as beets or blackberries, may give the urine a reddish tint. This should last only for a day or so after eating these foods. A few medicines may also turn the urine reddish. If your child has started a new medicine and you notice a color change in the urine, call your pharmacist to see if it’s normal.

How is it diagnosed?

Your child’s healthcare provider will ask about other symptoms and your child’s medical history and examine your child. Tests may include:

  • Urine tests
  • Blood tests
  • An ultrasound, which uses sound waves to show pictures of the bladder and kidneys
  • Intravenous pyelogram, which uses dye and X-rays to take pictures of the urinary tract
  • Cystoscopy, which uses a small lighted tube passed through the urethra into the bladder to look at the bladder, urethra, and prostate gland

How is it treated?

The treatment of blood in the urine depends on its cause. Your healthcare provider will recommend treatment that is best for your child.

How can I take care of my child?

Contact your healthcare provider if you think your child has blood in the urine.

Ask your child’s healthcare provider:

  • How and when you will hear your child’s test results
  • How long it will take your child to recover
  • If there are activities your child should avoid
  • How to take care of your child at home
  • What symptoms or problems you should watch for and what to do if your child has them

Make sure you know when your child should come back for a checkup. Keep all appointments for provider visits or tests.

Written by Robert Brayden, MD, Clinical Professor of Pediatrics, University of Colorado School of Medicine.
Pediatric Advisor 2015.2 published by RelayHealth.
Last modified: 2014-11-18
Last reviewed: 2014-01-28
This content is reviewed periodically and is subject to change as new health information becomes available. The information is intended to inform and educate and is not a replacement for medical evaluation, advice, diagnosis or treatment by a healthcare professional.
Copyright ©1986-2015 McKesson Corporation and/or one of its subsidiaries. All rights reserved.
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