The urinary system that is assigned the task of eliminating the liquid excretory product (urine) out of the body, primarily consists of urethra, ureters, kidneys and the bladder. The kidneys are bean-shaped and as big as the fists and do the job of removing waste from blood to produce urine. The urine, thus produced is then passed down to bladder through a set of thin tubes, referred as ureters. The bladder acts as the storage medium for the urine. When the bladder is full, the urine is then passed down to urethra, a thin tube that connects the bladder with the penis. The medical term for urine sample showing blood clots is known as hematuria. Usually the size of blood clots observed in urine is very small but sometimes the clot can be as large as a leech. Blood clots in urine is an indication that the urinary system is not healthy and so, requires urgent medical intervention.
Urinating Blood Clots
The presence of blood clots is likely to change the urine color to bright pink, red or dark yellow. However, if the existence of blood clots is insignificant, the urine color will appear normal. Depending on when the blood is visible while urinating, one can get an idea about where the bleeding is occurring in the urinary system. In case the blood is seen as soon as you start urinating, it means the site of bleeding is the urethra. If the blood is visible in the entire duration of urination then the damage is associated with the kidneys or ureters. When the blood appears just before the urine flow stops, it means the problem is with the prostate or bladder.
It is pointing towards the fact that the urinary system is not functioning properly. It is discussed below:
Urinary Tract Infections (UTI)
Bacterial infections affecting any part of the urinary tract, that include the kidneys, urethra or bladder, can be one of the possible reasons behind blood clots in urine. Pain while urinating, followed by rectal pain and urge to empty the bladder frequently are some of the common symptoms of urinary tract infections (UTI).
A person urinating blood clots can also mean the existence of kidney or bladder cancer. Urinary bladder cancer symptoms mimic those of UTI, as the condition causes painful urination and abdominal discomfort.
Stones that have moved away from the kidneys and are stuck somewhere in the ureters can also cause hematuria and is accompanied by back pain. This is because the trapped kidney stones not only obstruct urine flow but can also damage the ureters, resulting in bleeding.
Hematuria in men is many times related to inflammation of the prostate gland. The prostate gland is found only in males and is situated just below the bladder. This condition is known as prostatitis, in which the prostate gland suffers from a bacterial infection. Burning sensation while urinating accompanied by pain in the abdominal area and penis are some of the common symptoms of prostatitis (enlarged prostate).
Presence of blood clots after a sexual intercourse is an indication that the blood vessels of the reproductive system might have ruptured. Blood in urine due to vigorous sexual intercourse is usually a harmless condition and the problem may go away without any treatment.
High Intensity Exercises
Following a rigorous exercise routine such as cardiovascular workout or weight training can cause blood clots in urine in women and men. Too much exercise daily can cause harm to any part of the urinary system, thereby increasing the chances of detecting blood clots in urine. Athletes may experience blood in urine after running for prolonged periods of time.
Medications such as aspirin that prevent blood from clotting may actually induce internal bleeding. So, those taking aspirin everyday and anticoagulants like warfarin are at increased risk of hematuria. The urine color may change to smoky brown or pinkish red due to the presence of small blood clots.
People with thrombocytopenia that is typically marked by low platelet count may also show abnormal urine color. Platelets are important constituents of blood without which clotting action cannot take place. Essentially, platelets are cells circulating in blood that promote clotting action whenever needed. A physical injury often causes a wound that may bleed profusely. In most cases, bleeding from wounds is a temporary phenomenon and often lasts for a short while. This is because, these sticky irregularly shaped cells (platelets) helps to form clots, which cuts off the blood flow from the wound. Thus, the clotting mechanism of blood due to platelets plays a crucial role to stop bleeding. However, when platelet count reduces drastically, clot formation may take a backseat and subsequently the person may suffer from internal bleeding and eventually defecate blood along with urine.
One of the best ways to diagnose the underlying cause of hematuria is to go for a kidney X-ray test. Cystoscopy, yet another procedure that gives a detailed view of the bladder and the urethra from inside, can also be useful to detect any abnormalities in the urinary system.
As aforementioned, persistent hematuria cannot be ignored, and one needs to contact a doctor for proper diagnosis. The doctor will decide the course of treatment after finding the underlying cause. For instance, passing blood clots in urine arising from UTI infections or prostatitis are treated with antibiotics to manage the symptoms. Apart from antibiotics, the doctor may prescribe pain killers to relieve discomfort.
Disclaimer: The information provided in this article is solely for educating the reader. It is not intended to be a substitute for the advice of a medical expert.