Blood in the urine has many causes, including cancer, and the sight of blood in your urine can be very frightening. Obviously, this isn’t normal.

Or is it at times? It’s important to take a look at your urine on a regular basis.

What are the top 8, in order of likelihood, causes of blood in the urine? 

Answering questions is Dr. Andrew Stephenson, MD, urologist, associate professor, Department of Surgery, School of Medicine; Member, GU Malignancies Program, Case Comprehensive Cancer Center.

Dr. Stephenson: Infection; Stones; Benign prostatic enlargement; Kidney cancer; Bladder cancer; Ureteral cancer; Medical renal disease; and Trauma.

In other words, if you see blood in your urine, it’s not necessary to suddenly fear you must have cancer.

In fact, if you see blood in your urine, you might want to ask yourself if you’ve been exercising strenuously lately. This is a type of “trauma” that can cause blood in the urine.

The following exercises can lead to urinary blood: distance running, rigorous cycling, and jumping/plyometric routines. Accident trauma can also cause urinary blood.

Top medications likely to cause bloody urine?

Dr. Stephenson: Anticoagulation therapy, e.g., Coumadin, Plavix, Heparin.

According to Ohio Health Online, here are more causes for blood in the urine:

Red: A red tinge may appear to be blood, when it’s not. One cause of a red tinge is porphyria, a skin and nervous system disorder; red or deep purple foods such as blackberries, beets and rhubarb pie; laxatives like Ex-lax; and other prescription drugs including Thorazine, an antipsychotic that’s also used to treat nausea from chemotherapy.

Blood in: Urinary tract infections, cancer of the kidney or bladder (seldom), and also, a leading cause of visible hematuria in kids is kidney inflammation caused by a bacterial/viral infection.

Guidelines for urinalysis for bacteria in the urine (bacteriuria), that is without symptoms. (Symptoms include urinary tract infections and inflammation of the kidneys and bladder.) These guidelines are from Surgeon General Reports:

  • American Academy of Family Physicians and U.S. Preventive Services Task Force  —  asymptomatic bacteriuria screening, by urine culture, should be performed on all pregnant women.
  • The American College of Obstetricians and Gynecologists recommends screening for this, for women over age 65, or women with Type 1 diabetes, as a routine part of physical exams.
  • The American College of Physicians advises against routine screening.
  • Canadian Task Force on the Periodic Health Examination  —  For patients with Type 1 diabetes, a screening for protein to prevent renal disease is advised. But for the elderly, a screening to detect symptom-free bacteriuria is not advised.
dr. glickmanDr. Stephenson’s clinical and research focus is the treatment of prostate, bladder, kidney and testes cancer. He has published over 100 articles in peer-reviewed journals.