What Causes Blood in Urine?

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Blood in the urine (hematuria) is surprisingly common. In fact, about 16% of us experience it at one point or another. Blood in the urine can be visible to the naked eye as bright red or brown in color or can be present microscopically.

While it may be the result of something quite benign, it can also be a sign of a more significant issue—so it's important to follow up when it happens. Here are the common causes, diagnosis, and treatment options for hematuria in men.

A man consulting with his doctor
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Common Causes

The presence of blood in the urine means that bleeding is occurring somewhere in the genito-urinary tract. In men, those organs include the kidneys, ureters, the prostate gland, the bladder, and the urethra.

The most common causes of hematuria in men are urinary tract infections (UTI), neoplasms, and urolithiasis (stones). Another set of major causes includes trauma to the kidney, bladder, or other parts of the genito-urinary tract.

In addition, anything from “jogger's hematuria" that occurs after exercise, kidney disease, sexually transmitted diseases, benign prostate hypertrophy, infection of the urinary tract, tumors, and blockages, as well as some medications can cause a bleed.

As opposed to men, women may have blood in the urine from vaginal sources, including menstruation.

Rare Causes

There are several rare diseases and genetic disorders that can cause blood loss in the urine. Sickle cell anemia is an inherited blood disorder.

Von Hippel-Landau disease is an inherited disorder in which benign tumors grow on the kidneys, testicles, and spine. Systemic lupus erythematosus, a chronic inflammatory disease of the connective tissue, is another rare cause of blood in the urine.

Diagnosis and Tests

A change in the color of your urine is important. Sometimes a pink or red color can be due to diet, eating excessive amounts of rhubarb, beets, or even food coloring. However, in most cases, a bright red or brown color indicates blood loss.

Men should never ignore blood in their urine, as it may be a sign of a serious medical disorder.

There are a number of tests that, when combined with a physical examination and medical history, will help your healthcare provider make an accurate diagnosis. A simple urine dipstick test can detect the presence of blood. A urine culture can show up any infection.

Blood chemistry tests can demonstrate, amongst other things, kidney function. Microscopic examination may detect cancer cells. Other tests include:

  • Intravenous pyelogram (IVP): This is an X-ray test in which a dye containing iodine is tracked on its journey through the genito-urinary system showing up any abnormalities.
  • Cystoscopy: A flexible fiber-optic tube can be introduced so that the healthcare provider can see any abnormalities that may require treatment.
  • Ultrasound and computerized tomography (CT) scan: These imaging studies be required for further investigation if the above tests fail to find a cause.


Treatment is dictated by cause and may include antibiotics, medication review, or surgery, depending on what is going on in your body. In most cases, the amount of blood loss is not necessarily an indication of the seriousness of the disorder. Your healthcare provider will be able to determine the cause, and hopefully, give you peace of mind.

Frequently Asked Questions

  • What causes blood in the urine and pain while urinating for males?

    The most likely causes include kidney or ureteral stones, or passing blood clots that originate in the ureters.

  • What types of cancer could cause blood in the urine?

    Cancer in the kidney, bladder, or prostate could cause blood to appear in urine.

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7 Sources
Verywell Health uses only high-quality sources, including peer-reviewed studies, to support the facts within our articles. Read our editorial process to learn more about how we fact-check and keep our content accurate, reliable, and trustworthy.
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