Why blood in urine is scary but doesn't spell the end of your life

The first time I saw blood in urine, I absolutely freaked out. Already in pain from a full blown bladder infection, looking down to see pink in the toilet bowl was the last straw. I figured I was most likely dying and I better say my good byes. If I could only get off the toilet to do it!

Blood in your urine can show up as a pink, red or brown colour. It can be light or dark in colour and while it may seem pretty scary it doesn't usually mean imminent death, like I assumed. Often bloody urine can be so subtle you barely notice it.

Blood in urine is a common symptom of bladder infections. If you are experiencing other symptoms of bladder infections, like pain when weeing, or needing to wee often then it is most likely connected to that.

There are other reasons you may have blood in your urine, so if you don't think it is a bladder infection, it is a good idea to check out what else it may be.

There are also other things that can make it look as though you have blood in urine, as I discovered when I ate a massive beetroot salad. Foods with high colouring can change the shade of your urine, including beetroot, berries and rhubarb. Some medications can also change the colour of your pee. Apparently menstrual blood is commonly mistaken for blood in urine.

Blood in urine from a bladder infection may be a common symptom but not a good sign. While it may not be deadly I figure bleeding from your insides is a sign of a pretty nasty infection.

Most over the counter medication prescribed for bladder infections recommends that if you haven't noticed a difference within 2 days to go back to the doctor. I will admit I am a wimp, I think 2 days seems like a massive amount of time to be in pain. I have had bladder infections for much longer than that in the past, but I have learnt now that I want results a lot sooner than that.

With most of the medicines I have used in my most recent bladder infections, if I have not had a noticeable change in the infection within a couple of hours, I will move onto something else. There are a range of different bacteria and fungi which can cause a bladder infection and some treatments seem to affect some and not others.

For example, while cranberry extract has worked fantastically for me in some cases, within a half hour of taking it, other times it has had no effect after days and days of use. I now know from experience that if I have had no change within a couple of hours, that I am better to try another treatment.

Cranberry Extract Powder works fast when it works
Cranberry Extract Powder works fast - when it works.

Bladder infections left untreated can lead kidney infections which are serious. But more than that, spending days in agony waiting for a treatment to work is no fun. I wonder sometimes if my years of recurring bladder infections have affected me in ways I did not realise.

I seem to have little tolerance for waiting to hold on for the toilet, even when I don't have a bladder infection. Apart from learning that it is not a good idea to hold on, my body seems to struggle to hold on, feeling the pain of needing the bathroom much more intensely. Perhaps this is just part of getting older (OK I'm not exactly ancient but I am older than I was), or not connected to bladder infections at all but it makes sense that all that time of infection and pain could have done damage. I recommend that if you have blood in urine that you work on getting treatment as soon as you can.

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