Urinary tract infections

Many people suffer from an occasional bout of what appears to be blood in their urine, but is there actually a cause for concern? We'll break down the symptoms and potential causes of this problem.

Urinary tract infections are responsible for many cases of bloody urine. This can be difficult or impossible to tell from looking at the urine, which might appear normal or cloudy. In some cases, an infection in the kidney or bladder can also contribute to a dark complexion like red or pink urine. The presence of blood is typically pretty easy to detect with a dipstick test if you're aware that it's occurring, and it's worth discussing with your doctor if you're experiencing frequent episodes of bloody urination.
Most of the time, when people see blood in their urine, it's actually not blood at all. You may have heard of people being "clinically anaemic", but this means that their haemoglobin levels are low. This can occur due to an iron deficiency or even lead poisoning, but either way, it will often be accompanied by other symptoms like fatigue.

One reason people may mistake hematuria (blood in urine) for an iron deficiency is the presence of hematuria without symptoms, meaning that there is no pain or any other indication that anything is wrong until they urinate. They notice a slightly pinkish tinge to the urine.  If you ever see a red tint to your urine that persists or experience fatigue, weakness, and dizziness, it's worth discussing it with your doctor to ensure you don't have anaemia.
In other instances, the blood is actually red blood cells. You may notice dark or brightly coloured urine when you've eaten beets, spinach, tomatoes (especially if they're fresh), beef liver or any food containing high amounts of vitamin C. Overeating vitamin C can cause the body to shed excessive amounts of this compound from the blood which can ultimately show up in the urine. Keep in mind that any blood in the water is never a good sign and that untreated hematuria requires immediate medical attention.

Identifying the cause of blood in urine is essential to avoid further damage to the kidneys and urinary tract. Some of the reasons include infections, kidney stones, or urinary tract cancers.  If you find yourself in this situation, it is best to visit a doctor immediately for a complete physical and evaluation of your condition.  With early detection and treatment, you can enjoy life without pain and discomfort from this condition. Urinary tract infections account for many cases of bloody urine. However, some people may mistake hematuria (blood in urine) for an iron deficiency.  If you have your own bleeding problem, see a doctor immediately so that it can be treated before it has a chance to become any worse.  

Blood in the urine is generally not dangerous – but only when you are older and have a tendency to get urinary tract infections or kidney stones.