Key Points about Blood in Urine

  • Bloody urine may appear red, pink, or brown.
  • Common causes of bloody urine include urinary tract infections, bladder stones, endurance exercise, an enlarged prostate, certain medications, and a variety of kidney problems.
  • Treatment for bloody urine involves targeting the underlying cause of the bleeding. 
  • Many cases of bloody urine do not require medical treatment.

Overview

Blood in urine can be visible or not visible. When visible, it may appear red, pink, or brown.

Bloody urine can be, but is not always, a symptom of an underlying medical condition. Common causes include urinary tract infections, bladder stones, endurance exercise, an enlarged prostate, and certain medications. Bloody urine can also result from a variety of kidney problems, such as kidney stones, or an infection, disease, or injury of the kidney.

Treatment for bloody urine depends upon its cause, although not all cases require medical treatment. 

Blood in urine causes

Bloody urine occurs when blood cells leak into the urine through part of the urinary tract—usually through the kidneys. This leaking can be caused by a variety of factors, such as:

  • Urinary tract infections
  • Kidney infections
  • Kidney disease
  • An external injury to the kidney
  • Kidney stones
  • Bladder stones
  • An enlarged prostate
  • Sickle cell anemia
  • Endurance exercise, such as long-distance running
  • Certain medications, such as aspirin and penicillin
  • Cancer of the bladder, prostate or kidney

Blood in urine risk factors

While anyone can have bloody urine, you may be more likely to experience it if you:

  • Are a man over age 50
  • Have family members who have had kidney stones or kidney disease
  • Have had a recent viral or bacterial infection, which can cause inflammation of the kidneys
  • Engage in strenuous physical activity, such as endurance running
  • Are taking certain medications, such as antibiotics, penicillin, non-steroidal anti-inflammatories, and aspirin

Blood in urine symptoms

Bloody urine—which can be red, pink, or brown in appearance—is often unaccompanied by other symptoms.

Blood in urine diagnosis

When diagnosing the cause of bloody urine, your doctor may perform:

  • A physical examination, and a review of your symptoms and medical history
  • A urine test to detect red blood cells that may remain after treatment
  • Imaging tests such as a CT scan or MRI scan to search for an underlying cause
  • A cystoscopy, which involves viewing the bladder through a small camera attached to a tube

Blood in urine treatment

Treatment for bloody urine depends upon its cause. If it is caused by a urinary tract infection, for example, your doctor may prescribe antibiotics. If you have kidney stones or bladder stones, your doctor may recommend shock wave therapy.

Some instances of bloody urine resolve on their own, and do not require treatment.

When to seek care

Call your doctor if you have bloody urine, as it is important to rule out any underlying medical causes.

Next Steps

After receiving treatment for bloody urine, make sure to schedule a follow-up appointment with your doctor. If bloody urine persists after treatment, your doctor may re-evaluate your symptoms and provide additional testing.