Why are there leukocytes in my urine?

Why are there leukocytes in my urine?

Leukocytes or white blood cells are a part of the immune system. They help to protect the body against foreign invaders and infectious diseases.

These cells are produced and stored in various locations throughout the body, including the thymus, spleen, and bone marrow.

Leukocytes travel throughout the body moving between the organs and nodes. They watch for germs or infections that may cause problems.

Only low levels of leukocytes, if any, are normally found in the urine. Large numbers of leukocytes in the urine may indicate an infection or other underlying medical problem.

This article will look at six common causes of leukocytes in the urine.

Common causes of leukocytes in the urine

Leukocytes might be present in urine for a range of reasons.

1. Bladder infections or irritation

A urinary tract infection (UTI) is one of the most common causes of leukocytes in the urine. A UTI refers to an infection in any part of the urinary system.

This system includes the kidneys, ureters, bladder, and urethra. Most infections involve the lower urinary tract, and more specifically the bladder and urethra.

UTIs occur when bacteria get into the urinary tract by way of the urethra and begin to multiply in the bladder. Women are at a greater risk of developing a UTI than men.

A UTI can spread to the kidneys if is not treated properly. This can be serious.

High leukocytes may indicate kidney stones.

2. Kidney stones

A higher number of leukocytes than usual may be a sign of kidney stones.

Urine naturally contains dissolved minerals and salts. People who have high levels of these minerals and salts in their urine are at risk of developing stones.

Stones that make their way into the urethra can interfere with the movement of urine. This blockage can cause bacteria to build up and lead to an infection.

3. Kidney infection

A kidney infection can cause higher rates of white blood cells in the urine.

These infections often start in the urinary tract and spread to the kidneys. Though unusual, it is also possible for bacteria from other areas in the body to spread through the bloodstream to the kidneys.

People with weak immune systems or who have been using catheters for long periods are at a higher risk of developing a kidney infection.

4. Urinary system blockage

A blockage can lead to the development of hematuria, which is blood in the urine. The blockage can be due to trauma or caused by kidney stones, tumors, or other foreign material.

5. Pregnancy

Pregnant women typically have a higher level of leukocytes in their blood than normal. This is a regular occurrence. Unless the raised levels become a persistent problem or are accompanied by abnormal symptoms, they are not a danger.

6. Holding in urine

There is a reason why people should not make a habit of holding in their urine. Holding in urine for extended periods of time can weaken the bladder and make it difficult to empty.

If urine builds up in the bladder for too long, a bacterial infection can occur. This infection can lead to higher levels of leukocytes in the urine.

Changes in the urine or pain when urinating may be a symptom of leukocytes.

Other causes

These are just a few of the common causes, but there are others. Raised levels of leukocytes in the urine can also be caused by the following:

  • Some cancers such as prostate, bladder, or kidney cancer
  • Blood diseases such as sickle cell anemia
  • Some pain medicines and blood thinners
  • Strenuous or excessive exercise.

Signs and symptoms

Symptoms vary from person to person, but there are a few signs that suggest leukocytes may be present in the urine.

One of the most visible signs is cloudy or foul-smelling urine. Urinating more often than normal, pain or a burning sensation when urinating, or blood in the urine are also signs.

Other symptoms include:

  • Shivering and fever
  • Upper back and side pain
  • Stomach pain
  • Nausea or vomiting
  • Long-term pelvic pain
  • Pain during sex.

Tests and diagnosis

People who notice any of the symptoms above should contact their doctor for further examination.

A urine analysis may be enough to detect any problems. Patients provide a urine sample that can be analyzed in three ways: visual exam, dipstick test, and microscopic exam.

A urine sample would be the first stage of testing.

  • Visual exam: Technicians examine the appearance of the urine. Cloudiness or an unusual odor may signal an infection or other potential problem. The food that a person eats can also affect urine color.
  • Dipstick test: A thin, plastic stick with strips of chemicals is placed in the urine to detect any abnormalities. The chemicals on the strip will change color if certain substances are present and above normal.
  • Microscopic exam: Drops of urine are examined under a microscope. If leukocytes are present, this may be a sign of an infection.

The urine analysis is the first stage of testing.

If there are blood or other substances are present in the urine, other tests are often done to see exactly what is causing the problem.

The problem may be a UTI, or it may be something more serious such as a blood disorder or cancer. The patient's doctor will order additional testing as needed.

It is possible to have white blood cells in urine but not have a bacterial infection. Sterile pyuria refers to the presence of white blood cells in the urine when no bacteria is present.

According to The New England Journal of Medicine, 13.9 percent of women and 2.6 percent of men are affected by this condition. Sexually transmitted diseases, viral or fungal infections, or even tuberculosis can cause sterile pyuria.

It is important to see a doctor to get a correct diagnosis and undergo any necessary testing.

Treatment of high levels of leukocytes in urine

Treatment for leukocytes in the urine depends on the cause of the infection. In cases such as with a UTI, antibiotics will clear up the infection relatively quickly.

For more severe infections or those that will not go away, more in-depth medical treatment may be needed. Hospitalization may be necessary in some cases.

A doctor should handle any treatment options for cancer patients, those with serious medical problems, and treatment for pregnant women.

In some cases, such as with urinary tract and kidney infections, lifestyle changes can help. These include drinking more water and cutting down on sugary or fizzy drinks. Acetaminophen, ibuprofen, or prescription drugs may also help to ease any pain.

Re: I'm pregnant and have leukocytes and blood in my urine. My dr. said don't worry, but I still do. (Video Medical And Professional 2020).

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