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Blood in Urine

How Do You Test for Blood in Urine?

A test called a urinalysis can detect whether there is blood in your urine. A urinalysis checks a sample of your urine for different cells, chemicals, and other substances, including blood. Most causes of blood in your urine are not serious, But sometimes red or white blood cells in your urine can mean that you have a medical condition that needs treatment, such as a kidney disease, urinary tract infection, or liver disease.

Other names: microscopic urine analysis, microscopic examination of urine, urine test, urine analysis, UA

What is it used for?

A urinalysis, which includes a test for blood in urine, may be done as part of a regular checkup or to check for disorders of the urinary tract, kidney, or liver.

Why do I need a blood in urine test?

Your health care provider may have ordered a urinalysis as part of a routine exam. You may also need this test if you have seen blood in your urine or have other symptoms of a urinary disorder. These symptoms include:

What happens during a blood in urine test?

Your health care provider will need to collect a sample of your urine. During your office visit, you will receive a container to collect the urine and special instructions to make sure that the sample is sterile. These instructions are often called the "clean catch method." It includes the following steps:

  1. Wash your hands.
  2. Clean your genital area with a cleansing pad given to you by your provider. Men should wipe the tip of their penis. Women should open their labia and clean from front to back.
  3. Start to urinate into the toilet.
  4. Move the collection container under your urine stream.
  5. Collect at least an ounce or two of urine into the container, which should have markings to indicate the needed amounts.
  6. Finish urinating into the toilet.
  7. Return the sample container as instructed by your health care provider.

Will I need to do anything to prepare for the test?

You don't need any special preparations before getting a test for blood in your urine. If your health care provider has ordered other urine or blood tests, you may need to fast (not eat or drink) for several hours before the test. Your health care provider will let you know if there are any special instructions to follow.

Are there any risks to the test?

There is no known risk to having a urinalysis or a blood in urine test.

What do the results mean?

There are a variety of factors that can cause red or white blood cells to be present in the urine. Many are not cause for concern. Small amounts of blood in the urine may be due to certain medicines, intense exercise, sexual activity, or menstruation. If larger amounts of blood are found, your health care provider may request further testing.

Increased red blood cells in urine may indicate:

Increased white blood cells in urine may indicate:

  • A bacterial urinary tract infection. This is the most common cause of a high white blood cell count in urine.
  • Inflammation of the urinary tract or kidneys

To learn what your results mean, talk to your health care provider.

Is there anything else I need to know about a blood in urine test?

A blood in urine test is usually part of a typical urinalysis. In addition to checking for blood, a urinalysis measures other substances in the urine, including proteins, acid and sugar levels, cell fragments, and crystals.

References

  1. Hinkle J, Cheever K. Brunner & Suddarth's Handbook of Laboratory and Diagnostic Tests. 2nd Ed, Kindle. Philadelphia: Wolters Kluwer Health, Lippincott Williams & Wilkins; c2014. Hemoglobin, Urine; p. 325.
  2. Lab Tests Online [Internet]. American Association for Clinical Chemistry; c2001–2017. Urinalysis: The Test; [updated 2016 May 25; cited 2017 Mar 14]; [about 4 screens]: Available from:
  3. Lab Tests Online [Internet]. American Association for Clinical Chemistry; c2001–2017. Urinalysis: Three Types of Examinations; [cited 2017 Mar 14]; [about 2 screens]. Available from:
  4. Mayo Clinic [Internet]. Mayo Foundation for Medical Education and Research; c1998–2017. Urinalysis: How you prepare; 2016 Oct 19 [cited 2017 Mar 14]; [about 4 screens]. Available from:
  5. Mayo Clinic [Internet]. Mayo Foundation for Medical Education and Research; c1998–2017. Urinalysis: What you can expect; 2016 Oct 19 [cited 2017 Mar 14]; [about 5 screens]. Available from:
  6. Merck Manual Consumer Version [Internet]. Kenilworth (NJ): Merck & Co., Inc.; c2017. Urinalysis; [cited 2017 Mar 14]; [about 2 screens]. Available from:
  7. National Institute of Diabetes and Digestive and Kidney Diseases [Internet]. Bethesda (MD): U.S. Department of Health and Human Services; Hematuria (Blood in the Urine); 2016 Jul [cited 2017 Mar 14]; [about 3 screens]. Available from:
  8. Saint Francis Health System [Internet]. Tulsa (OK): Saint Francis Health System; c2016. Patient Information: Collecting a Clean Catch Urine Sample; [cited 2017 Apr 13]; [about 3 screens]. Available from:
  9. The Johns Hopkins Lupus Center [Internet]. Johns Hopkins Medicine; c2017. Urinalysis; [cited 2017 Mar 14]; [about 3 screens]. Available from:
  10. University of Rochester Medical Center [Internet]. Rochester (NY): University of Rochester Medical Center; c2017. Health Encyclopedia: Blood in the Urine; [cited 2017 Mar 14]; [about 2 screens]. Available from:
  11. University of Rochester Medical Center [Internet]. Rochester (NY): University of Rochester Medical Center; c2017. Health Encyclopedia: Microscopic Urinalysis; [cited 2017 Mar 14]; [about 2 screens]. Available from:

The medical information provided is for informational purposes only, and is not to be used as a substitute for professional medical advice, diagnosis or treatment. Please contact your health care provider with questions you may have regarding medical conditions or the interpretation of test results.

In the event of a medical emergency, call 911 immediately.
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