Occult Blood in Urine | A Silent Indicator You Shouldn't Ignore

How to Test Occult Blood in Urine?

Occult Blood in Urinalysis

Finding blood in your urine can be alarming, but what if you don't see any visible blood? This scenario, known as occult blood in urine, might seem inconspicuous, but it warrants attention.

Let's dive into what occult blood in urine means, its normal range, potential causes, and why you shouldn't ignore it.

What is Occult Blood in Urine?

Unlike gross haematuria, where blood makes the urine visibly pink or red, occult blood is microscopic. It's present in such small amounts that you can't see it with the naked eye, but an urinalysis test can detect it.

How to Test Occult Blood in Urine?

There are two main methods used to test for occult (hidden) blood in urine:

  1. Dipstick test
  • This is a simple and commonly used screening method.
  • A reactive strip or dipstick is dipped into the urine sample.
  • The strip contains chemicals that change color when they react with the presence of hemoglobin (the oxygen-carrying protein in red blood cells).
  • The color change is compared to a chart to determine if blood is present and to what degree.
  • Dipstick tests can detect even small amounts of blood in urine.
  1. Microscopic examination
  • A urine sample is examined under a microscope by a trained professional.
  • The presence of red blood cells (RBCs) in the urine indicates occult blood.
  • This method can confirm the presence of blood and help distinguish between sources of bleeding (e.g., urinary tract, kidney, etc.).
  • Microscopic examination is more accurate than dipstick tests but requires more resources and expertise.

In some cases, both dipstick and microscopic tests may be performed for a more comprehensive evaluation.

It's important to note that occult blood in urine can have various causes, including urinary tract infections, kidney stones, kidney disease, bladder cancer, or menstruation (in women). Therefore, further diagnostic tests may be necessary to determine the underlying cause if occult blood is detected.

Additionally, certain foods (e.g., beets, rhubarb) and medications can sometimes cause false-positive results on dipstick tests. Your healthcare provider will consider these factors when interpreting the test results.

Regular screening for occult blood in urine is often recommended for individuals at higher risk for certain conditions, such as bladder cancer or kidney disease, as it can aid in early detection and treatment.

Normal Range of Occult Blood in Urine

The normal range for occult blood in urine is negative, meaning no blood cells are detected. However, some labs might report trace amounts as “positive” with a value of 1-5 red blood cells per microlitre of urine. This often requires further investigation to determine the cause.

Meaning of Occult Blood in Urine

While not always indicative of a serious condition, occult blood in urine can be a sign of various underlying issues. It's important to note that some factors unrelated to health, like vigorous exercise or menstruation, can also temporarily cause microscopic bleeding.
However, consistent presence of occult blood in urine could indicate:

  1. Urinary tract infections (UTIs): UTIs, especially bladder infections, can irritate the lining of the bladder, causing microscopic bleeding.
  2. Kidney stones: Stones passing through the urinary tract can scratch and irritate the lining, leading to occult blood.
  3. Enlarged prostate: In men, an enlarged prostate can put pressure on blood vessels in the urinary tract, causing bleeding.
  4. Kidney disease: Glomerular nephritis, an inflammatory kidney disease, and other kidney conditions can cause microscopic bleeding.
  5. Bladder cancer: Although uncommon, occult blood can be an early sign of bladder cancer.

Causes of Occult Blood in Urine

  • UTIs
  • Kidney stones
  • Enlarged prostate
  • Kidney disease
  • Bladder cancer
  • Medications: Certain blood thinners or pain relievers can cause temporary bleeding.
  • Intense exercise: Strenuous physical activity can cause microscopic bleeding in some individuals.
  • Menstruation: Blood from menstruation can contaminate urine samples.

Why You Shouldn't Ignore Occult Blood in Urine?

While not always a cause for immediate alarm, it's crucial to follow up with your doctor if your urinalysis detects occult blood, especially if you have additional symptoms like pain, difficulty urinating, or frequent urination. Early diagnosis and treatment of the underlying cause can prevent complications and improve health outcomes.

How healthcare nt sickcare Can Help?

At healthcare nt sickcare, we understand the importance of accurate and timely diagnosis. We offer NABL-accredited urinalysis testing with fast turnaround times (6-48 hours) and convenient online booking options. Our experienced team of professionals is dedicated to providing you with reliable results and compassionate care.

Don't let occult blood go unnoticed. Schedule your urinalysis test at healthcare nt sickcare today and take control of your health.

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Take charge of your health! Schedule your urinalysis at healthcare nt sickcare and gain valuable insights into your urinary tract health. Remember, early detection is key to optimal well-being.

Call us at +91 9766060629 or visit our occult blood test page to book your test!

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