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What is Microhematuria?

By D. Jeffress
Updated Mar 03, 2024
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Microhematuria is a medical condition in which red blood cells are present in a person's urine, though they cannot be detected without a microscope. It can be caused by a number of factors, including bladder and kidney stones, urinary tract infections, an injury to the kidneys, inherited conditions, or cancer. Most people do not experience any symptoms or notice blood in their urine, and their condition is not discovered until clinical laboratory scientists find red blood cells in urine samples. There is no direct treatment for microhematuria; instead, doctors focus on treating underlying conditions in order to provide relief and prevent potentially life-threatening situations.

Red blood cells can seep into the urine for a number of different reasons. Bacteria that lead to a urinary tract or kidney infection can cause blood to leak into the urine and present symptoms such as frequent urges to urinate, burning sensations, fatigue, and fever. Hardened kidney or bladder stones that cause blockages and intense pain often result in microscopic or visible blood in the urine. Other causes include injuries, chronic illnesses, and genetic diseases such as sickle cell anemia. In some cases, microhematuria can be a symptom of prostate, bladder, or kidney cancer.

When painful, burning sensations or other urination problems present themselves, doctors usually collect urine samples and order laboratory tests to check for the presence of blood cells. A clinical laboratory scientist carefully inspects samples under microscopes, counts blood cells, and reports the findings back to physicians. After getting the results from a laboratory test, a physician usually conducts an extensive physical examination, asks the patient about his or her medical and family histories, and conducts ultrasounds or computerized tomography scans to closely investigate potential causes. Depending on the cause of microhematuria, a physician usually has several options for providing treatment.

A doctor might prescribe antibiotics and anti-inflammatory medications to treat infections and kidney disease, or conduct an invasive procedure known as extracorporeal shock wave lithotripsy to break up stubborn kidney stones. Patients with renal failure may need to undergo dialysis to clean and replenish blood, fluids, and minerals in their bodies. An individual who has been diagnosed with cancer is usually instructed to take medications, receive chemotherapy or radiation treatments, or undergo surgery to eradicate cancerous tissue. When doctors are able to detect microhematuria early in the course of a disease or another condition, the patient is likely to enjoy a successful recovery.

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Discussion Comments
By anon339025 — On Jun 19, 2013

My doctor told me today that I have microhematuria and need to have a procedure done where they go into the bladder. I have taken numerous tests throughout the years with other doctors who saw blood in urine and they all said it was nothing. The only test they did was take urine in a cup. They've done no blood work like this doctor has been doing and monitoring. I have no burning when I urinate, nothing hereditary and have had a hysterectomy, but this blood was seen prior to that. I have no pains of any kind, however I do urinate a lot. How will they know if I have cancer or stones, or whatever?

By anon139096 — On Jan 03, 2011

Better safe than sorry! It is always best to be sure, so I think it is prudent to get follow up testing with your doctor. Microhematuria has many causes, so there's nothing to worry about. You will be safe and protected!

By anon129422 — On Nov 23, 2010

My doctor has found microhematuria in my urine and it does concern me. They have tested for cancer cells and results have come up negative. I do urinate a lot but with no pain or burning. I'm so scared. I canceled my last apppintment. I lost my father to cancer and nursed him till death which was 15 years ago and I'm still haunted by this situation. Any suggestions out there?

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