Haematuria means there is blood in the urine (wee). Normally there is no blood in the urine.

Often, children with haematuria have no symptoms. If there is a lot of blood, the urine may be red or dark brown. In most children, haematuria is not serious. In some children, it is a sign that there is a problem with their kidneys and these children may need special treatment.

About haematuria

Haematuria means there is blood in the urine (‘haem’ means blood). Specifically, there are red blood cells in the urine. These are the cells that carry oxygen around the body, and give blood its red colour. Haematuria is normally due to the kidneys leaking red blood cells into the urine, but it may also have other causes.

Types of haematuria

There are two types of haematuria.

  • Macroscopic haematuria – also called visible haematuria or gross haematuria. This means that the blood can be seen in the urine. The urine is coloured red or dark brown (like a cola drink).
  • Microscopic haematuria – also called non-visible haematuria. This means that the blood cannot be seen in the urine. It can be found by a urine test.

How common is haematuria?

It is not known how many children have haematuria. Visible haematuria is rare.

Haematuria: symptoms and complications

Most children with haematuria do not have any symptoms.

  • Some children feel that they need to pass urine (wee) more often than usual
  • A few children have pain when passing urine (having a wee)
  • A very small number of children also have pain in their loin area. This is the part of the back on either side of the spine. The pain may come on suddenly or slowly over time

If your child has any of the above symptoms, take him or her to your doctor for a urine test.


Some children with haematuria have high blood pressure (hypertension). In some children, this causes headaches, vomiting (being sick) or blurred (fuzzy) vision.

Causes of haematuria

Haematuria may happen:

  • for a short period of time only, and may happen after lots of exercise or if there is irritation in the genital area – this is usually harmless
  • during a urinary tract infection (UTI), when germs get into the urine and travel up the urinary system – the haematuria usually disappears after the child gets better
  • because of an infection in another part of the body
  • after surgery of the urinary system
  • because of a condition that affects the kidneys, causing them to leak red blood cells.

A small number of children have large amounts of blood in their urine, or have haematuria that keeps coming back. This may be a sign that there is damage to their kidneys. Your doctor will try to find out what is causing the haematuria in your child, though this is not always possible.

Haematuria: tests, diagnosis and treatment

Your child’s doctor can diagnose (identify) haematuria with a urine test. If your child has symptoms of haematuria, such as red or dark brown urine, your doctor may arrange a urine test. Or, your child may have a urine test for another reason, such as a routine health check. Your doctor will also speak with you and your child about his or her symptoms and examine your child. If the first urine test shows there is blood in your child’s urine, your doctor may arrange for more urine tests. This can help find out whether the haematuria is serious.

Your child may need further tests, such as blood tests. Some children also have proteinuria – more protein than normal – in their urine which can be seen on the urine test. These children will need more tests to find out the cause.


Many children will not need treatment. Some children will need to be monitored or treated. If your child has hypertension, this will need to be controlled. He or she may need to change what they eat and drink and may need to take medicines to reduce their blood pressure.

About the future

For many children, haematuria will go away with time without treatment. In a few children, haematuria is a sign that there is a problem with their kidneys or another part of their urinary system. Your doctor will speak with you and your family about any long-term effects your child might have with haematuria.

More information

  • About the urinary system and kidneys

    If your child has a health condition that affects their kidneys or another part of the urinary system, you may wish to find out more.

  • Tests and diagnosis

    Find out more detail about some of the tests used to diagnose or investigate kidney conditions.

  • Urinary tract infection (UTI)

    Urinary tract infections happen when germs get into the urine (wee) and travel into the urinary tract.