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Hematuria (Blood in Urine)

What is hematuria?

Hematuria means blood in the urine. Microscopic hematuria means that the blood is seen only when the urine is examined under a microscope. Gross hematuria means that there is enough blood in the urine to be seen without a microscope. If you think your child has blood in his urine, call your health care provider.

How does it occur?

Hematuria is a sign that something is causing bleeding in the urinary tract. The urinary tract includes the kidneys, the ureters (tubes that carry urine from the kidneys to the bladder), the bladder, and the urethra (tube that carries urine from the bladder out of the body). Some common causes of blood in the urine are:

  • urinary tract infection
  • strenuous exercise
  • an immune reaction following an infection, such as a cold
  • injury to any part of the urinary tract (for example, falling off a bike might bruise your child's kidney).

Less common causes of hematuria in children include:

  • kidney disease
  • a disease such as sickle cell anemia or systemic lupus erythematosus
  • blood thinning medicines such as heparin (Calciparine, Liquaemin), warfarin (Coumadin), or aspirin-type medicines; penicillins; sulfa-containing drugs; cyclophosphamide (Cytoxan)
  • kidney or bladder stones
  • a tumor in the urinary tract.

How is it diagnosed?

If your child has blood in her urine, the health care provider will ask about other symptoms and examine your child. If the cause is clear, your child will be treated. If the cause isn't clear, your child may need to have:

  • urine tests
  • blood tests
  • ultrasound scan of the bladder and kidneys
  • other radiological tests.

How is it treated?

The treatment of hematuria depends on its cause. Your doctor will help explain what course of treatment is best for your child.

How long does hematuria last?

How long hematuria lasts also depends on its cause. For example, hematuria related to strenuous exercise usually goes away within 1 or 2 days after the exercise. Hematuria from a urinary tract infection will end when the infection is cured. Other causes might take longer to clear up.

What can I do to help my child?

Again, the most important advice is to find out the correct cause. In the meantime, your child should:

  • Drink proper amounts of fluids. Ask your health care provider how much fluid your child should drink each day.
  • Switch to a less intense exercise program if necessary.
  • Follow the health care provider's advice for regular urine testing so you will know if your child has blood in the urine again.
Developed for McKesson Provider Technologies. Adapted for pediatric patients by Robert Brayden, MD.
Published by McKesson Provider Technologies.
Last modified: 2005-10-24
Last reviewed: 2006-08-22
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 2006 McKesson Corporation and/or one of its subsidiaries. All Rights Reserved.
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