My toddler has blood in their urine. What’s wrong?

Blood in the urine, called hematuria, can have different causes, including kidney stones. Know what to look for and how to get help.

If you notice blood in your toddler’s urine, it can be cause for concern. Blood in urine, called hematuria, is when the kidneys or other parts of the urinary tract allow blood to leak into urine. When should parents be concerned about blood in urine?

What causes blood in urine?

Hematuria, or blood in urine, can be common in children. The amount can be so small that you cannot see it with the human eye (microscopic hematuria) or it can color the urine pink, red or brown, like the color of tea or soda (gross hematuria). Blood can pass from the kidneys or any part of the urinary tract into urine. It can come from the ureters (the connections from the kidneys to the bladder), the bladder (where urine is stored) or the urethra, the tube from the bladder to the outside of the body. Blood in urine has many causes, including:

Blood in urine treatments

Microscopic hematuria often resolves on its own in healthy children. However, if you can tell your child’s urine may have blood in it, (and there is no other possible explanation, such as a medication or foods causing the urine’s color to change) you may want to reach out to your pediatrician.

Hematuria treatments will depend on the root cause. Should it be caused by an infection, medicines can be prescribed. If it’s due to calcium in the urine, diet changes and drinking more water may be in order. Your pediatrician may refer you to a pediatric urologist or pediatric nephrologist for care should they suspect your child is experiencing kidney stones, glomerulonephritis or a kidney injury.

Norton Children’s Urology, affiliated with the UofL School of Medicine

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When to call your pediatrician about blood in urine

It’s always important to call your pediatrician with concerns you may have. If you notice blood in your child’s urine and they’re experiencing any of the following, call your pediatrician:

  • Child seems swollen and urinating less
  • Irritability
  • Frequent headaches or low energy
  • Fever with side or back pain
  • Joint pain
  • Pain while urinating
  • Pain in the belly
  • Pain in the back
  • Pain in the side
  • Rash

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