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Causes of Gross Hematuria

written by: R. Elizabeth C. Kitchen • edited by: Leigh A. Zaykoski • updated: 6/18/2009

This article focuses on the causes of gross hematuria, or visible blood in the urine.

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    Hematuria is the medical term for blood in the urine. Gross refers to a lot. Gross hematuria refers to blood in the urine that is plentiful and visible to the naked eye. Gross hematuria is a symptoms and not an actual disease and it indicates that there is something going on and it needs to be evaluated by a doctor. This symptom can occur with or without pain. With pain it can indicate problems such as kidney or bladder stones or an infection. Without pain it can indicate problems such as cancer. Dozens of different diseases and conditions can cause gross hematuria, some common and simple and some complex.

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    Urinary Tract Infections

    A urinary tract infection can cause gross hematuria. A urinary tract infection occurs when bacteria enters through the urethra and multiplies inside the bladder. Other symptoms of a urinary tract infection include strong-smelling urine, constant urge to urinate and burning or pain while urinating.

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    Kidney Infections

    A kidney infection can cause gross hematuria. Kidney infections occur when bacteria gets into the kidneys from the ureters or from the bloodstream. Other symptoms of a kidney infection include burning or pain during urination, constant urge to urinate, fever, strong-smelling urine and flank pain.

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    Kidney and Bladder Stones

    Kidney and bladder stones can cause gross hematuria. Stones occur when the minerals in concentrated urine form crystals. Many kidney and bladder stones cause no symptoms unless they are being passed or are blocking something. When symptoms do occur they include severe pain and gross hematuria.

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    Enlarged Prostate

    An enlarged prostate can cause gross hematuria. An enlarged prostate occurs when men become older and as it becomes enlarged it can partially block the flow of urine by compressing the urethra. Other symptoms of an enlarged prostate include trouble urinating and the constant urge to urinate.

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    Certain cancers can cause gross hematuria. These cancers include advanced kidney, prostate and kidney cancer. Since gross hematuria is a sign of an advanced stage of these cancers, other serious symptoms such as weight loss and extreme fatigue may also be present. These cancers are also difficult to treat at advanced stages.

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    Inherited Disorders

    Certain inherited disorders can cause gross hematuria. These disorders include sickle cell anemia and Alport syndrome. Since these disorders are complex they can also present several other symptoms as well such as pain, fatigue and loss of appetite.

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    Kidney Injuries

    Certain kidney injuries to the kidneys can cause gross hematuria. Injuries such as sports injuries and accidents in which the kidneys suffer a blow can cause blood in the urine. These injuries can also lead to severe pain and a ruptured kidney.

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    Certain medications can cause gross hematuria. Medications such as Warfarin, Heparin, Penicillin, aspirin and Cyclophosphamide are known to cause blood in the urine. These medications can also cause several other side effects such as nausea, fatigue and loss of appetite.

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    Mayo Clinic. (2007). Blood in Urine (Hematuria). Retrieved on June 18, 2009 from Website:

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