How Do You Test for Blood in Urine?
A test called a urinalysis checks a sample of your urine (pee) to see if there's blood in it. In some cases, you can see blood in your urine. It may make your urine red or reddish brown. But you can have small amounts of blood in your urine that you can't see. A urinalysis can find a small amount of blood cells in your urine as well as other types of cells, chemicals, and substances.
Having blood in your urine usually isn't serious. But in some cases, red or white blood cells in your urine may mean that you have a medical condition that needs treatment, such as a urinary tract infection (UTI), kidney disease, or liver disease.
Other names: microscopic urine analysis, microscopic examination of urine, urine test, urine analysis, UA, urine microscopy
What is it used for?
A urinalysis, which includes a test for blood in urine, is used to check your general health, including the health of your urinary tract, kidneys, and liver. The test can also be used to check for other health problems besides blood in urine.
Why do I need a blood in urine test?
Your health care provider may order a urinalysis as part of a routine exam. You may also need this test if you have seen blood in your urine or have other symptoms that could be caused by a problem with your kidneys or urinary tract. These symptoms include:
- Painful urination
- Frequent urination
- Back pain
- Abdominal (belly) pain
What happens during a blood in urine test?
You will need to give a urine sample for the test. A health care professional may give you a cleansing wipe, a small container, and instructions for how to use the "clean catch" method to collect your urine sample. It's important to follow these instructions so that germs from your skin don't get into the sample:
- Wash your hands with soap and water and dry them.
- Open the container without touching the inside.
- Clean your genital area with the cleansing wipe:
- For a penis, wipe the entire head (end) of the penis. If you have a foreskin, pull it back first.
- For a vagina, separate the labia (the folds of skin around the vagina) and wipe the inner sides from front to back.
- Urinate into the toilet for a few seconds and then stop the flow. Start urinating again, this time into the container. Don't let the container touch your body.
- Collect at least an ounce or two of urine into the container. The container should have markings to show how much urine is needed.
- Finish urinating into the toilet.
- Put the cap on the container and return it as instructed.
If you have hemorrhoids that bleed or are having your menstrual period, tell your provider before your test. Outside blood could get into your urine sample and affect your test results.
Will I need to do anything to prepare for the test?
You don't need any special preparations before getting a test for blood in your urine. If your provider has ordered other urine or blood tests, you may need to fast (not eat or drink) for several hours before the test. Your provider will let you know if there are any special instructions to follow.
Are there any risks to the test?
There is no known risk to having a urinalysis or a blood in urine test.
What do the results mean?
Many things can cause blood in urine. Most of them aren't serious. The blood may be caused by taking certain medicines, intense exercise, sexual activity, or menstruation (having a period).
But blood in your urine may be a sign of a more serious problem, such as:
- Infection in the bladder, kidney, or prostate
- Bladder or kidney stones
- Kidney injury from an accident or sports
- A viral infection, including hepatitis (a disease of the liver causing inflammation)
- Cancer of the bladder, kidney, or prostate
- Enlarged prostate (BPH)
- Inflammation of the kidney, urethra, or bladder
- A blood disorder
- Polycystic kidney disease
- Disorders of the ureters (tubes that connect your kidneys to your bladder)
If your test result shows blood in your urine, you may need more tests to find out why. To learn what your results mean, talk with your provider.
Learn more about laboratory tests, reference ranges, and understanding results.
Is there anything else I need to know about a blood in urine test?
A blood in urine test is usually part of a routine urinalysis. A urinalysis also measures other substances in the urine, including proteins, acid and sugar levels, cell fragments, and crystals.
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The information on this site should not be used as a substitute for professional medical care or advice. Contact a health care provider if you have questions about your health.