Medical Q&As

Blood in urine - what to do?

My 5-year-old son is complaining with a stinging sensation when he passes urine. I have noticed a tiny bit of blood in the urine. This has happened over the last day or two. What could be causing this?

I think you should bring your son to your GP in order to have this matter checked out. It sounds as if he may have a urinary tract infection. The urinary tract refers to the kidneys, bladder, the ureters (tubes connecting the kidneys to the bladder) and the urethra, which is the tube that that passes from the bladder out through the penis. The urinary tract is not a sterile area but if the bacterial count rises above a certain level the bladder or kidneys may become acutely inflamed. The inflammation can lead to increased acidity of the urine, which contributes to the stinging and frequency that we associate with urinary tract infection. A small amount of blood may seep into the urine, which may be of such a small quantity that it is not visible to the naked eye. Your doctor will probably test a sample of your sonís urine in the surgery to confirm the presence of infection but he is also likely to request further testing of the urine at the nearest hospital laboratory. The laboratory can examine the urine microscopically and also attempt to culture the urine in order to identify any bacteria that may be present. It is also possible to identify which antibiotics are effective in eliminating the bacteria. It is customary to repeat the testing of the urine after completing a course of antibiotics in order to establish that the infection has been successfully treated. If my suspicions are correct and your son does have a urinary tract infection it is likely that your GP will refer your son for a scan of his kidneys and bladder in order to establish if there is an underlying cause that has predisposed your son to infection.