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Blood in the urine - How is it diagnosed?

If you have visible blood in the urine (frank haematuria) then you should be referred to a specialist for urgent tests.

Microsocopic haematuria is today often diagnosed by GPs testing a patient's urine using a dip test.  If positive, GPs send the urine sample off to the laboratory to confirm red blood cells and to ensure the absence of infection.  If there is no infection, then investigation of microscopic haematuria should commence.

What tests are needed?

Blood in the urine is usually investigated using a kidney ultrasound scan and an Xray test. A cystoscopy is also required, but this can usually be done under a local anaesthetic, so you wouldn't need to stay in the hospital after the test is done.


At the start, the doctor will clean the skin around the water pipe and apply some local anaesthetic gel. There are no injections required. A narrow tube is inserted through the urethra (water pipe) and into the opening of the bladder. This allows the inside of the bladder to be inspected for any abnormalities.

Sometimes, samples are taken from the inside of the bladder (biopsies) to help make the correct diagnosis.