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What Does Blood in Urine Indicate?

Medically reviewed by Mae Charisse Antalan, MD · General Practitioner

Written by Lorraine Bunag, R.N. · Updated Dec 30, 2022

What Does Blood in Urine Indicate?

Blood in the urine, medically referred to as hematuria, can be quite alarming. It might mean there’s an issue with the kidneys or another part of the urinary tract. What does blood in the urine indicate? When should you seek medical help? Find out here. 

Risk Factors

Before we answer the question, “What does blood in urine indicate?”, let’s first discuss the risk factors. 

Generally, you are more likely to experience hematuria if you:

  • Have an enlarged prostate
  • Have a family history of kidney disease
  • Are taking some medications, like pain relievers, antibiotics, and blood thinners. 
  • Perform strenuous activities or exercises, like running and jogging for long distances
  • Have a history of kidney stones
  • Have recently developed an infection, such as hepatitis or streptococcus
  • Are smoking
  • Have an underlying condition that affects one or more organs

What Does Blood in Urine Indicate?

Before we shed light on the question, “What does blood in urine indicate?”, let’s first clarify that hematuria can either be gross or microscopic. 

Gross hematuria means the blood is visible to the naked eye. Often, the urine looks cola-colored, pink, or red. Generally, when this happens, it’s not painful, unless you pass blood clots in the urine. 

Microscopic hematuria occurs when you cannot see the blood unless you use a microscope. 

Now, what does blood in urine indicate?

Strenuous Physical Activity

It is still unclear how strenuous physical activity causes hematuria, but many runners experience it. Reports say it may have something to do with dehydration, trauma to the bladder, or breakdown of red blood cells associated with aerobic workouts. 

Renal Injury

What does blood in urine indicate? Sometimes, it points to an injury to the kidney following an accident or vigorous contact sports. 

Certain Medications

Some medications may trigger hematuria. Examples of these medicines include:

  • Penicillin, an antibiotic
  • Cyclophosphamide, an anti-cancer medicine
  • Heparin, a blood thinner
  • Aspirin, an anticoagulant

Kidney Disease

In some cases, blood in urine happens because of glomerulonephritis, the inflammation of the kidney’s filtration system. Glomerulonephritis may occur on its own or as a result of other conditions, such as diabetes. Some bacterial or viral infections may trigger this condition, too. 

Bladder/Kidney Stones or Infections

Kidney or bladder stones don’t always result in signs and symptoms, but when they do, hematuria could be one of them. Note that stones may cause both gross and microscopic bleeding. 

Besides stones, a kidney or bladder infection (Urinary Tract Infections) may also trigger hematuria. This happens when bacteria reach your kidneys or bladder. Although bladder and kidney infections often present with similar symptoms, fever and pain are more common in kidney infections. 

Enlarged Prostate

In some scenarios, hematuria is due to an enlarged prostate or benign prostatic hyperplasia (BPH). 

BPH is more common among older men and it may result in symptoms like persistent need to urinate, difficulty urinating, and gross or microscopic hematuria. 

Note that prostatitis (infection of the prostate) may also trigger similar symptoms. 

When to Seek Medical Help

The minute you experience hematuria or blood in urine, it’s time to seek medical help. 

This is because hematuria should not be ignored, and any symptoms accompanying it should be reported to your doctor. 

Key Takeaways

Blood in urine, which can be gross or microscopic, may be due to several reasons, like kidney stones, bladder infection, an enlarged prostate, taking certain medications, and kidney disease. 

If you notice blood in urine, get in touch with your doctor as soon as you can. Hematuria should not be ignored and other symptoms that come along with it should be communicated with your physician.

Learn more about Urological Health here


Hello Health Group does not provide medical advice, diagnosis or treatment.

Medically reviewed by

Mae Charisse Antalan, MD

General Practitioner

Written by Lorraine Bunag, R.N. · Updated Dec 30, 2022

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