What is Occult Blood in Urine?

Occult blood” (from the Latin word occultus “clandestine, hidden, secret”) means microscopic blood. “Microscopic” means something is so small that it can only be seen through a special tool called a microscope. The word “Hematuria” means blood in the urine. So, if you have microscopic hematuria (or occult blood in urine), you have red blood cells in your urine. These blood cells are so small, though, that you can’t see the blood when you urinate.

Your healthcare professional will investigate further to try to determine the source and underlying cause of the blood. There are some risk factors that can put you at risk for hematuria such as:

  • Age (men older than 50)
  • Sex (women with urinary tract infections, men with kidney stones)
  • Recent infection (particularly of the kidneys in children)
  • Family history
  • Certain medications (aspirin or penicillin)
  • Strenuous exercise

Sometimes, the test is a false positive, meaning some factor made it seem like there was microscopic blood in the urine when there actually is no blood there. Factors that can cause a false positive test result include dehydration and excessive exercise. Please discuss your test results with your doctor to determine what they mean in your case.

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