Oh, yes! This was my very first indication that I had kidney cancer. Here’s part of my story…
April 28 2006 I picked up my husband for a biopsy and took him to an outpatient surgical center. While I was there waiting for the biopsy to be completed, I started noticing blood in my urine and major abdominal cramps. I left messages for several of my doctors on what I should do. I finally decided to see my PCP after I got my husband home.
When Tom was done with his testing, his doctor took one look at me and asked if I wanted an ambulance. I said no, that I thought I could make it to the emergency room ok – Tom couldn’t drive because of the anesthesia they had given him. I barely made it to the ER and left the car with Tom to park. Tom’s doctor followed us to the ER and became my new doctor.
The News Item that inspired this post:
The sight of blood in your urine is enough to make anyone panic. It doesn’t always indicate a serious problem, but it’s important you get it checked out with your doctor.
Blood in the urine is known as hematuria. There are two forms of hematuria:
Gross hematuria – This is when you can see blood in the urine. The urine may look pink, red, or cola-colored due to the presence of red blood cells (RBCs). Most of the time, other than the change in appearance in urine, most people do not have other symptoms.
Microscopic hematuria – This is when you cannot see blood in the urine but it can be detected when examined under a microscope. Most people with microscopic hematuria have no symptoms.
Causes of blood in the urine:
When a person has hematuria, the kidneys or other parts of the urinary tract allow blood cells to leak into the urine. Anyone, including children, can be at risk for blood in the urine, and it can occur as a result of many common conditions. Some of those include:
Vigorous or strenuous exercise
Urinary tract infection
Kidney or bladder stones
Family history of kidney disease
More serious problems that could be causing blood in your urine might be:
Kidney or bladder cancer
Polycystic kidney disease
Irritation or swelling in the kidney, prostate in men, or another part of the urinary tract
Sickle cell disease
Medications – the anti-cancer drug cyclophosphamide (Cytoxan) and penicillin can cause urinary bleeding.
Hematuria is diagnosed with a urine sample called a urinalysis. The urine sample is collected in a special container at a doctor’s office and usually tested in a lab for analysis. The lab technician places a strip of chemically treated paper called a dipstick in the urine. If RBCs are present, patches on the dipstick change color. When RBCs are noted, then the urine is further examined under a microscope to make the diagnosis of hematuria.
Depending on the circumstances, the doctor may order further testing such as a urinalysis, blood test, biopsy, cystoscopy, or a kidney imaging test.
Hematuria is treated by addressing its underlying cause. If no serious health problem is detected, no treatment may be necessary. If your hematuria is caused by a urinary tract infection, it will be treated with antibiotics. A urinalysis should be repeated within 6 weeks after antibiotic treatment ends to be sure the infection is gone.
Dr. Samadi is a board-certified urologic oncologist trained in open and traditional and laparoscopic surgery and is an expert in robotic prostate surgery. He is chairman of urology, chief of robotic surgery at Lenox Hill Hospital and professor of urology at Hofstra North Shore-LIJ School of Medicine. He is a medical correspondent for the Fox News Channel’s Medical A-Team and the chief medical correspondent for am970 in New York City. Learn more at roboticoncology.com. Visit Dr. Samadi’s blog at SamadiMD.com. Follow Dr. Samadi on Twitter and Facebook.