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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.