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Periodic Blood in Urine - no buring sensation

  I have recently had blood in my urine however it is not heavy all the time.  IN some instances you can't even see it.  I noticed heavy amounts three times over the past three days and in the past 12 hours I have only noticed slight amounts if the urine sits and it settles to the bottom of the toilet.
  I have not experienced and pain with urination and my frequency or need to urinate has not changed.  I have been experiencing discomfort near my bladder.  Additionally I experience some pain with intercourse.
  Previously I was diagnosed with Colitis and have been having pain throughout my lower abdomin - from my belly button down.  They did a colonoscopy, an ultrasound and an xray.  Oddly, I have constipation not diahrrea and I am alway distended.
  Yesterday, the doctor took a urine sample and is waiting to see if a culture grows.  If no culture by Monday I am told we will do an IVP test and a cystoskopy (sp?) (I think). Just in case he has put me on an antibiotic.
  What are the possible causes for all this?  What is the best case and worst case possiblities and likelyhood of each?  My doctor mentioned something about Kidneys and Polyps on the bladder (I think).  He also said polpys there are usually cancerous but easily taken care of.  If they were cancerous what if the recovery rate?  What is the treatment etc?
  My doctor if a family prationer.  Should I seek help from someone else? A specialist of some kind?
  Thank you for your time.
  Helen
  
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Dear Helen,
Blood in an adequately collected urine sample is abnormal.  Blood in the urine, i.e. hematuria, may be due to medical disease or surgical disease.  One can determine whether the hematuria has a medical cause by looking at the shape of the red blood cells under a microscope.  Dysmorphic or irregularly shaped red blood cells are more commonly associated with medical renal disease.  The blood in the urine can originate from three sources: the kidney(s), the ureter(s) and the bladder.  In males, the prostate gland may contribute.  Blood in the urine may be seen grossly or microscopic--seen only with a microscope.  There is increased chance of finding significant pathology when gross hematuria is present.
The causes for hematuria include trauma, infection, stones, and cancer.  A urine culture is a good initial step.  The next step would be an imaging study of the kidneys and ureters, an IVP.  If your kidney function is poor, a renal ultrasound should be substituted.  Next, cystoscopy should be performed to evaluate the bladder.  If there is an abnormality on the IVP, i.e. a filling defect in the ureter, it can be further assessed endoscopically.  Urine can be sent for cytology(looking in the urine for cancer cells).  
Bladder cancer can present as hematuria.  Risk factors for include cigarette smoking (4 X increased risk), age (peak incidence in seventh decade), treatment cyclophosphamide, phenacetin abuse, and occupational exposure to aniline dyes & aromatic amines.  Bladder cancers are divided in to noninvasive and invasive groups.  Noninvasive cancers are
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