For the past six weeks I’ve been experiencing pain, usually a burning sensation, when I urinate and a couple of days ago I noticed a small amount of blood in my urine although there has not been any blood since then. What could be the cause of this and do I need to see my GP? I'm a forty two year old female.
Dr Lynne Rogerson, Consultant Gynaecologist, Spire Leeds Hospital
It is very important to see your GP. The most likely diagnosis is “cystitis” which means “inflammation of the bladder” but is most commonly used to describe the symptoms of a bacterial infection of the urine, or Urinary Tract Infection (UTI). UTIs are very common and present with pain when passing urine (dysuria), passing small amounts of urine very frequently, and sometimes there may be blood present in the urine (haematuria).
UTIs are usually treated with antibiotics but it is important to ensure a sample is sent to the laboratory to identify the bacteria and ensure the appropriate antibiotic has been prescribed. UTIs can be recurrent (more than three per year), and sometimes low dose preventative antibiotics are prescribed.
If the urine sample does not confirm a UTI, your GP may send your sample for further analysis to check for more serious conditions such as bladder cancer. Bladder cancer is more common in men and in smokers but it may be prudent to carry out a cytology test to check for cancer cells shed into the urine.
Other investigations may include an ultrasound of the kidneys and bladder along with a cystoscopy (camera into the bladder). This is a simple day case procedure and if there is any sign of a bladder tumour, your consultant may be able to remove it at the same time.