Blood in the urine is referred to as “hematuria.” If you can’t see it, it is called “microscopic hematuria.” If it is visible, it is called “gross hematuria” (not because it is “gross”, but because that is the medical term for obvious or visible without tests or a microscope).
The American Urologic Association believes that this should always be evaluated. At Associated Urologists of Orange County, we certainly agree. It is not usually anything serious, but up to 10% of patients might have some underlying issue that might need treatment. The real reason to look for a cause is that sometimes it can be caused by kidney cancer or bladder cancer. More often, there is no cause at all, or it is something less serious like small kidney stones or an enlarged prostate.
If you have blood in the urine, the evaluation usually includes some type of imaging (ultrasound or CT scan) of the kidneys, as well as a cystoscopy. Cystoscopy only hurts a little, like a small cramp, as the scope goes past the sphincter muscle that holds the urine. Once the scope is in, you only feel an urge to urinate. The entire procedure only lasts one or two minutes.
Matthew Greenberger, MD