MadSci Network: Medicine

Re: Like to know why urine could be red?

Date: Sat Jun 26 10:42:46 1999
Posted By: Adrian Canale-Parola, General Medical Practitioner
Area of science: Medicine
ID: 930004387.Me

Hi Josh

Simple answer is blood or beetroot!

Firstly, it's important to know whether the red in urine is blood or red 
colouring, and it's very easy to check this using a dipstick, (a small 
strip the tip of which is impregnated with certain chemicals which change 
colour if haemoglobin is detected) - normally urine should not contain any 
red blood cells.

If no haemoglobin is detected, the usual culprit is beetroot, which 
contains a naturally occuring red dye excreted via the kidneys. Other dyes 
found in foods or certain medicines can turn urine green or blue.

If haemoglobin is detected, then this signifies some problem with the 
urinary system - the blood might be coming from the kidneys, the ureters, 
the bladder or the urethra - and further investigations are needed to 
establish the cause, which may vary from something fairly simple, which is 
most common, such as an infection, to other more serious causes.

Either way, blood in the urine should always be investigated by a doctor.

Best wishes

Doc C-P

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