by Thomas J. Seary, MD | Commonwealth Urology
Blood in the urine, hematuria, can be an indication of a serious problem, or no problem at all. Studies have shown that between 9 and 18 percent of healthy individuals have some degree of hematuria. However, hematuria can be a marker for infection, stone disease or cancer, such as those listed below, requiring treatment. Risk factors for significant underlying disease include: smoking, radiation, overuse of some pain medicines and exposure to certain chemicals.
Hermaturia, affects between 2.5 and 21 percent of the population, and is defined as the presence of red blood cells in the urine. It can originate anywhere in the urinary tract and often no specific cause is found. Hermaturia can be characterized as either "microscopic," usually found by a dipstick test at a routine check-up and visible only under a microscope, or "gross," which is visible to the naked eye, worrisome to the patient and could prompt a visit to the doctor. However, microscopic hermaturia can be as severe as gross hermaturia, but carries no symptoms.