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HEMATURIA– PRESENCE OF BLOOD IN THE URINE
Causes of hematuria range from non-life threatening (e.g., urinary tract infection) to serious (e.g., cancer, kidney disease). Hematuria is the presence of blood, specifically red blood cells, in the urine. Whether the blood is visible only under a microscope or visible to the naked eye, hematuria is a sign that something is wrong. The source of the blood can be from the kidneys that produce the urine, the ureters that conduct the urine to the bladder, the bladder that stores the urine or the urethra that allows the passage of urine to outside the body. The bleeding could also be from the prostate which is an organ that surrounds the beginning of the urethra in men. The bleeding can be from other less likely sources as well. Bleeding may happen once or it may be recurrent. It can indicate different problems in men than women. If you notice blood in your urine, you should consult a urologist as soon as possible.
There are two types of hematuria, microscopic and gross (or macroscopic). In microscopic hematuria, the amount of blood in the urine is so small that it can be seen only under a microscope. However, the seriousness of what is causing the hematuria is in no way related to the amount of bleeding. For example a person with microscopic hematuria may have cancer and the one with macrascopic or gross hematuria may have an infection.
A cystoscopy is performed so the cause of the gross or microscopic hematuria can be identified. Local anesthesia as well as an antibiotic and narcotic is given so the procedure is virtually painless. Usually a flexible cystoscope is inserted slowly into the urethra. The urologist can visually inspect the urethra, bladder, and prostate through the cystoscope. The procedure takes about 1 minute and is a simple and quick way to locate the source of the bleeding in most cases. To learn more about a Cystoscopy click here.