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A positive urine dipstick for blood. What should I do?

Updated: Jun 30, 2023

Urine dipstick analysis is a simple and quick diagnostic tool used to detect the presence of various substances in urine, such as blood, protein, glucose, ketones, and nitrites. The dipstick is a plastic strip with small chemical pads that change color in response to the presence of specific substances in the urine.

To perform a urine dipstick analysis, a healthcare provider or a patient can dip the stick into a urine sample and then compare the color changes on the stick to a color chart that comes with the dipstick. The color changes indicate the presence or absence of various substances in the urine.

Urine cytology to detect bladder cancer.
Biochemist examining a slide to detect abnormal cells.

A positive urine dipstick for hematuria (blood in urine) is a relevant finding that should be followed up by further evaluation. While a positive dipstick test for hematuria does not necessarily indicate a serious medical condition, it can be an indicator of various underlying conditions, ranging from minor issues to more serious diseases.

A positive urine dipstick for hematuria can be caused by a number of factors, such as urinary tract infections, kidney stones, bladder or kidney cancer, prostate problems, or medications. According to the American Cancer Society, approximately 10% of people with hematuria have cancer, with the most common types being bladder, kidney, or prostate cancer. However, other conditions such as urinary tract infections, kidney stones, and medications can also cause hematuria.

Further diagnostic testing, such as a urine culture, imaging studies (such as ultrasound, CT scan or MRI), cystoscopy or a biopsy may be necessary to determine the underlying cause of the hematuria and rule out cancer or other serious conditions.Therefore, further testing and evaluation are needed to determine the underlying cause and develop an appropriate treatment plan.

It is important to promptly follow up with a healthcare provider if you have any symptoms of hematuria or if you have a positive dipstick test, as early detection and treatment can improve outcomes for many conditions, including cancer.

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