Seeing red in your urine can mean you have cancer, and the cancer can involve one of three possible structures.
The bladder is the most likely source of cancer-caused blood in the urine.
What can red urine mean?
“Red urine is not always blood, but you better be sure,” says Michael D. Lutz, MD, board certified urologist; Partner at Michigan Institute of Urology; President, MIU Men’s Health Foundation.
“Visible blood in the urine can have multiple potential causes including infections, stones of the urinary tract, coagulation disorders or cancers of the urinary tract,” continues Dr. Lutz.
An infection in this case may be of the urinary tract. A coagulation disorder is one in which blood has difficulty clotting and thus can cause internal bleeding.
Dr. Lutz explains, “Only a detailed urological evaluation and appropriate studies can determine the significance or the underlying cause.
“Approximately 13 percent of the population will have microscopic or visible blood in their urine, and one-third will have a urological cause.”
Blood in the urine can also be caused by excessive running or marching. But if you notice a correlation between prolonged running, hiking, etc., with red in your urine, by all means still get yourself checked out.
“Cancers lining the urinary bladder, kidneys or the ureter, occur in a ratio of 50:3:1,” says Dr. Lutz.
“Therefore, the most common malignancy in the urinary tract which causes bleeding is typically bladder cancer.
“The majority of bladder cancers are confined to the lining of the bladder and can usually be treated locally with the occasional additional usage of localized chemotherapy placed into the bladder to help cure the disease and reduce the risk of recurrence. Continued surveillance is the key to a successful course and outcome.
Urine can take on a reddish or pink tinge after you’ve consumed beets. This has nothing to do with blood and is a harmless situation.
Dr. Lutz is experienced in all areas of adult urology and has a special interest in urological cancer, male fertility and urologic stone disease.
Lorra Garrick has been covering medical, fitness and cybersecurity topics for many years, having written thousands of articles for print magazines and websites, including as a ghostwriter. She’s also a former ACE-certified personal trainer.