The sight of blood in urine may have alarmed you, if you are a pregnant woman. This condition is called hematuria. Know more about its causes, symptoms and treatment.
Hematuria, or the presence of blood in the urine can trigger the panic button in pregnant women. Occurring as a result of abnormal levels of red blood cells in the urine, hematuria affects almost 10% of the general population and can be a symptom associated with a number of health problems. Thus, it can be attributed to multiple factors, such as bladder stones, kidney problems, or urinary tract infections.
There are multiple reasons for blood in urine during pregnancy which ranges from the more severe conditions like bladder cancer to the less important ones, like viral infections and nonspecific inflammations of the kidney. Here is a list of the common causes for hematuria during pregnancy.
• Urinary Tract Infection: Urinary tract infection or chronic bladder infection is one of the most common causes of the appearance of blood in urine. Since, pregnant women are more at risk of contracting this bacterial infection, it is common in pregnant women. As the uterus grows, its increased weight can block the drainage of urine from the bladder, thus causing infection which leads to the presence of blood or mucus in the urine.
• Kidney and Bladder Stones: Blood in the urine can also be a result of kidney stones which may cause severe pain and bleeding as the stone passes through the urinary tract. The presence of hardened mineral deposits in the kidney may also result in constant ache and pain in the abdomen, especially around the area of the kidneys, accompanied by nausea or vomiting. In addition, this mineral deposits can accumulate in the bladder and form stones which cause pain and bleeding as they block the bladder.
• Kidney Disorders: Hematuria may also be caused by damage to the upper urinary tract or an infected kidney.
• Bladder and Kidney Cancer: The presence of blood in the urine might also indicate bladder cancer or kidney cancer. However, this is a more common concern in people older than 40 years of age.
In addition, blood in urine is detected in pregnant women affected with medical conditions such as lupus, sickle cell anemia, or diabetes. In the majority of the cases, elevated amounts of protein is present in the urine.
Traces of blood in the urine, is itself a symptom of this disorder. In case a pregnant women is affected with gross hematuria, the urine appears pinkish, red, or smoky brown, accompanied with small blood clots. In addition to this, there may be pain in the back, lower belly, or groin, accompanied by a burning sensation when urinating. In certain cases, there may be fever or nausea with weight loss and decreased appetite. If the person is affected by microscopic hematuria, then none of these symptoms may be present.
Persistent blood in urine during pregnancy must be diagnosed and treated as soon as possible. For the diagnosis, a thorough physical examination along with an assessment using a urine culture must be done in laboratory settings. The first test performed in the emergency department or medical office, is a dipstick test where a strip of chemically treated paper is dipped into a cup containing a sample of your urine. The paper will show different colors to indicate the presence of blood, protein, glucose, or infection in the urine. This is followed by a formal urinalysis where the urine is examined under a microscope to look for red blood cells and white blood cells, which signify infection. For detecting kidney stones, an ultrasound or a single shot x-ray must be done. In the majority of the cases antibiotics suited for pregnancy are given for treating the condition. In case the cause is the presence of kidney stones then lithotripsy is usually avoided.
The best course of action post detection of blood in urine, is to consult your physician immediately, especially if you notice gross hematuria. After identifying the cause, your doctor can pinpoint the exact treatment you need. Remember that the health of your baby depends on your well-being, so seek help as soon as possible. Take care!