Cystitis symptoms: blood in the urine

Why can cystitis cause blood in the urine?



Qualified Nutritionist (BSc, MSc, RNutr)
@EmmaThornton
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An introduction to blood in the urine

The presence of blood in the urine can be an extremely worrying symptom. Cystitis is a common cause of this but, as the bleeding may be occurring in other areas of the urinary tract, including the kidneys, it is very important to get this symptom checked by a doctor whether you have other symptoms of cystitis or not.

Why does cystitis cause blood in the urine?

Before jumping to the worst conclusions, remember that the colour of your urine can be affected by what you eat. Think back, and if you have recently eaten beetroot or blackberries, then consider that this might be masquerading as a worrisome symptom.

If, however, the redness in your urine is definitely caused by blood, this is an indication of bleeding in the bladder or elsewhere in the urinary tract. While this sounds dramatic, it doesn’t take much blood to make an innocent toilet trip seem something much more sinister. A bacterial infection in the bladder may cause tiny amounts of blood to leak into the urine.

Sometimes the amount of blood in the urine is so small that it goes undetected by the human eye. In this case, a urine sample showing a result of the presence of blood cells would be the only indication. This is quite common in pre-menstrual women, and usually disappears after their period.

It is likely that the presence of blood in the urine caused by cystitis will clear up very quickly and will be of no further concern.

Self-help, lifestyle and diet for blood in the urine

If you notice blood in your urine, this should not be treated at home until it has been checked by a doctor as it has potentially serious causes.

After that, it is likely that your doctor is going to suggest treating this symptom at home. Often you will simply have to wait for this symptom to clear, but home treatments for the underlying bladder infection could help to speed recovery.

Keep drinking plenty of water to help flush the infection out of your body. Additionally, this can help to dilute the urine, causing less irritation to the bladder wall and, hopefully, less bleeding.

Minimising irritation is important, so avoid food and drink containing caffeine, alcohol and a lot of refined sugar. For more advice on cystitis and diet, read my blog post on this topic.

It may also be worth avoiding foods such as beetroot and blackberries for a time so that they do not falsely colour your urine. This allows you to properly monitor this symptom, and if it worsens, you should go back to your doctor.

Are there herbal remedies to help me?

As with self-help measures, treating the underlying cause is the best way to clear the blood from your urine. There are several herbal remedies that have a traditional use in treating cystitis.

Cranberry prevents bacteria from sticking to the bladder wall and colonising there and, as a result, can help in the prevention of urinary tract infection. This may also prevent a current infection from worsening.

Read our blog for more on what the research says when it comes to Cranberry Juice for cystitis!

This remedy is particularly effective alongside Uva-ursi, which cleanses and disinfects the bladder, helping to remove the bacteria. If the infection can be cleared quickly, then it is likely that the associated symptoms, including blood in the urine, will also be cleared.

What about conventional medicines?

As with home and herbal remedies, treating the underlying cause with conventional medicines is the most effective method. This is partly why it is so important to get this symptom checked by a doctor, to ensure that the root of the symptom is cystitis.

If this is the case, it may be advised to take antibiotics to clear the infection. Other treatment options will be discussed with you if the blood in your urine has a different cause.

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Here’s what I recommend

Emma our women's health advisor recommends Uva-ursi complex to help ease symptoms of cystitis and cranberry to maintain bladder health.

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Did you know?

Cystitis is sometimes known as ‘honeymoon cystitis’. Why? Well, during sex, bacteria can spread from the perineum to the urethral opening. The risk of developing cystitis is therefore increased depending on the frequency you have intercourse (sorry honeymooners!).

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