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White Blood Cells in Urine

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In healthy patients, the urine does not contain blood cells, being 100% sterile. When a patient experiences different types of infections, such as those of the urinary tract, kidneys or bladder, it is important that a sample of the urine is analyzed. The microscopic exam of the urine will identify the presence of white blood cells, representing a sign of infection into the body. When such a thing happens, it is important to visit the doctor and obtain the right treatment for the infection.

The microscopic exam will also determine how many white blood cells there are in the urine. Depending on the severity of the infection present in the body, the quantity of white blood cells in the urine can range from small to large. It goes without saying that, the more white blood cells, the more serious the infection will be. The urine analysis will allow for the infection to be detected, even if it’s not causing any symptoms.

Before providing a urine sample, the doctor will provide several instructions. These might be related to the possible contamination. It is recommended that you wash the area thoroughly, so as to avoid contamination from the vaginal or urethral area. If you have an excellent hygiene, then you do not have to worry about such things. Either way, it is for the best that you wash before providing the urine sample. In this way, you will be 100% certain that the sample is not contaminated and that the analysis will correctly identify whether you have white blood cells in your urine or not.

Causes of White Blood Cells in Urine

These are the most common causes that lead to the appearance of white blood cells in the urine:

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white blood cells in urineKidney stones

  • Gender prevalence – more men than women
  • Can block the urinary tract
  • Associated with bladder inflammation
  • The immune system fights the possible infection – white blood cells in the urine
  • Accompanied by intense pain and infrequent urination

Urinary tract infection

  • Infection of the urethra/ureter
  • Accompanied by intense pain
  • Burning sensation accompanies urination
  • Apart from the white blood cells, blood might also be present in the urine (hematuria)

Cystitis

  • Inflammation of the bladder caused by bacterial infection
  • More often in women (adult)
  • Increased urinary frequency (compared to the normal average)
  • The urine can change its smell and color (cloudy – white blood cells)
  • Patients describe the existence of pain and also a burning sensation when urinating

Interstitial cystitis

  • More often in women (adult) than in men
  • The interior lining of the bladder wall is inflamed
  • Not caused by bacterial infection
  • Increased urinary frequency (compared to the normal average)
  • The bladder muscles can contract, leading to low abdominal cramps

Cancer

  • Inflammation or obstruction of the urinary tract
  • White blood cells present in the urine
  • Three types of cancer can present such modifications: kidney cancer, bladder cancer or prostate cancer

Pyelonephritis

  • Infection of the exterior lining of the kidneys
  • Associated with pain and inflammation
  • Can lead to systemic symptoms, including state of general discomfort, fever or chills
  • May be diagnosed at the same time with cystitis, causing similar symptoms
  • Women are more often diagnosed with this condition than men

Urinary tract obstruction

  • Depending on the cause of obstruction, the number of white blood cells in the urine can vary from small to large
  • Main cause of obstruction – kidney stones
  • Other causes – trauma of the pelvis, cancer, enlarged prostate gland or the presence of a foreign body
  • Obstruction leads to extreme pain
  • Other symptoms include: infrequent urination, blood cells in the urine (hematuria)

Other causes

  • Blood conditions
    • Conditions in which the blood does not clot
    • Sickle cell anemia
  • Medication
    • Blood thinners
    • Pain medication
    • Antibiotics
    • Anti-inflammatory medication – for arthritis
  • Physical effort
    • Can lead to white blood cells in the urine

Treatment

These are the most common courses of treatment undertaken the causes of white blood cells in the urine:

  • Kidney stones
    • Treatment depends on how large the stone actually is
    • Anti-inflammatory medication is administered to help the patient deal with the symptoms
    • Drinking large quantities of water helps one eliminate the stone
    • Lithotripsy – sound waves are used for the kidney stone to be broken, thus allowing for an easier elimination process
    • Surgical removal – recommended only in serious cases
    • Antibiotics – eliminate infectious organisms
  • Urinary tract infection
    • Broad spectrum antibiotics
    • Drinking large quantities of water helps eliminate the infectious organisms faster
    • Intravenous antibiotics are recommended in case of serious infection, with life-threatening symptoms
  • Cystitis
    • Anti-inflammatory medication – pain relief
    • Antibiotics – in case of associated bacterial infection
    • Medication to bring spasm relief
  • Interstitial cystitis
    • Anti-inflammatory medication for the symptoms
    • Physiotherapy to strengthen the muscles
    • Transcutaneous nerve stimulation
    • Bladder distention
    • Medication administered directly into the bladder
    • Surgery – rare cases
  • Cancer
    • Chemotherapy
    • Radiotherapy
    • Surgery
  • Pyelonephritis
    • Broad-spectrum antibiotics to eliminate the infectious organisms
    • Antibiotics can be administered orally or intravenously, depending on how serious the infection is
    • Hospitalization is required when life-threatening symptoms are caused by the infection
  • Urinary tract obstruction
    • Temporary solution – urinary catheter/stent
    • Surgery for the elimination of the obstruction
    • Laparoscopic surgery – minimally invasive procedure, amazing results

As you can see for yourself, there are many causes that can lead to the presence of white blood cells in the urine. Once the cause has been correctly identified, the doctor can decide on the best course of treatment. The treatment often consists of antibiotics, so as to eliminate the bacterial infection. During the period you are getting treated for an infection, you will have to maintain excellent hygiene. This will reduce the chance for the infection to return and it will ensure the elimination of all the upsetting symptoms. If you had surgery, then antibiotics are going to be administered as a preventive measure to avoid secondary infections.


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