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Blood in urine (haematuria)

5-minute read

See your doctor straight away if you notice bright red blood in your urine or if your urine has turned pink, red or brown.

Key facts

  • Blood in your urine (wee) is called haematuria.
  • Haematuria can look like blood, or like red, pink or brown urine.
  • There are several causes for blood in urine.
  • Blood in urine should always be checked by your doctor.

What is blood in urine?

Blood in your urine (wee), also called haematuria, is common. It might be found on a urine test, or you might notice it yourself.

Normal urine colour is light yellow. Blood in your urine may make your urine appear a different colour (red to brown) or you may see blood. If there is only a very small amount of blood, you might not see it at all.

There are many causes of blood in urine. Certain foods can also sometimes change your urine colour, including beetroot, blackberries and rhubarb.

Whether there is blood visible in your urine or very small amounts only visible under a microscope (microscopic haematuria), it needs to be checked out by your doctor.

What symptoms are related to blood in urine?

If you have blood in your urine, you may also have other symptoms — these will depend on the cause.

Symptoms that can be related to blood in urine are:

  • pain or discomfort when urinating (weeing)
  • needing to urinate more often than usual
  • needing to urinate urgently
  • pain in your abdomen (tummy) or back
  • straining to do a wee
  • reduced urine stream
  • feeling like your bladder is not completely empty after doing a wee

CHECK YOUR SYMPTOMS — Use the Symptom Checker and find out if you need to seek medical help.

What causes blood in urine?

The blood may come from anywhere in your urinary system. This includes your:

  • kidneys
  • ureters (tubes that transport urine from your kidneys to your bladder)
  • bladder
  • urethra (the tube that transports urine from your bladder out of your body)

A urinary tract infection (UTI) is one of the most common causes of blood in your urine. A UTI is an infection in any part of your urinary system. Infection most commonly occurs in your bladder (cystitis).

Other causes of haematuria are:

Blood in your urine can also be caused by:

  • anticoagulant (blood-thinning) medicines
  • blood clotting conditions that cause bleeding
  • sickle cell anaemia
  • endometriosis
  • certain medicines

Sometimes you may see blood in your urine that actually comes from your reproductive organs. In females, having your period or recently having sex may cause blood in your urine.

Sometimes, vigorous exercise can cause blood to appear in your urine. This is called exercise-induced haematuria and can affect athletes. It usually gets better on its own, but should always be checked by your doctor.

How is the cause of blood in urine diagnosed?

Your doctor will ask about your symptoms and general health. They will also examine you. The physical examination may include examination of your genitals and a prostate exam (in males).

Your doctor will ask for a urine sample to do urine tests. They may also recommend that you have blood tests.

Further tests may be needed to look at your urinary system. These can include:

A cystoscopy is a procedure where a specialist doctor looks inside your bladder with a thin tube with a camera on the end.

When should I see my doctor?

You should always see your doctor if you notice:

  • blood in your urine
  • a change in the colour of your urine

When to seek urgent care

Life-threatening bleeding from your urinary tract is very rare. But if you have lots of blood in your urine or have blood clots, call triple zero (000) for an ambulance.

You should also seek urgent care if you have blood in your urine and:

FIND A HEALTH SERVICE — The Service Finder can help you find doctors, pharmacies, hospitals and other health services.

How is blood in urine treated?

There are many different treatments for blood in your urine. The treatment will depend on the cause.

Some causes of blood in your urine don't need any treatment. Treatment may involve antibiotics for an infection.

Some people may need to see a nephrologist (a doctor that specialises in kidney diseases) or a urologist (a doctor that specialises in the urinary system).

It's important to have regular follow-ups with your doctor, and repeat urine tests may be recommended.

Resources and support

Kidney Health Australia has information on kidney health and conditions, including blood in urine.

You can also call the healthdirect helpline on 1800 022 222 (known as NURSE-ON-CALL in Victoria). A registered nurse is available to speak with 24 hours a day, 7 days a week.

Learn more here about the development and quality assurance of healthdirect content.

Last reviewed: February 2024

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