Blood in urine and bladder infections

Finding blood in urine can be a scary experience, but it rarely signifies anything serious. Here we look at the relationship between blood in urine and bladder infections, as well as other common causes.

Blood in urine is often a result of a bladder infection. It can also be a result of kidney infections, kidney stones, inflammation of the urethra, enlarged prostate, kidney cancer, bladder cancer and prostate cancer.

Bladder infections are more common in women than in men because women have a short urethra. The majority of woman will experience a bladder infection at some stage in their lifetime. Bladder infections are less common for men, but they can be more serious.

Bladder infections usually clear up within a week and can be treated at home by drinking plenty of water and taking suitable painkillers. If the infection causes a fever and abdominal pain, a doctor can prescribe antibiotics to help clear it.

For men, blood in urine can commonly be caused by bladder or prostate infection, enlarged prostate or an obstruction in the urinary tract.

Kidney infections only affect around 1 in 830 people a year, with women six times more likely to get a kidney infection than men (again due to having a shorter urethra). Younger women and children are at highest risk of developing a kidney infection.

Symptoms of a kidney infection include pain in the side, lower back or genitals, loss of appetite, feeling sick, chills, feeling weak and a high temperature. If you notice these symptoms, see your doctor as kidney infections require treatment through antibiotics.

Kidney stones are more common than kidney infections. They affect around 10-20% of men and 3-5% of women. Some will pass undetected, but larger stones will require hospitalisation to break them up.

Blood in urine can have a range of causes and is very rarely the result of a serious illness. However it's important to consult your GP to identify the problem.

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