What does it mean to have leukocytes in your urine?
Leukocytes are white blood cells, i.e. blood cells that fight infections.
Urinalysis is used to measure the level of leukocytes in the urine.
In the urinary system, the kidneys filter the blood and prevent the white blood cells from entering the urine.
However, if a urine sample shows that there are white blood cells in it, it reflects a malfunction of the urinary tract.
The increased proportion of white blood cells in the urine is called pyuria, which means pus in the urine.
|Normal leukocyte levels in urine||0 – 10 Leu/ml|
|Greatly increased leukocytes||more than 20 Leu/ml|
Limit values of measurement: 0 – 500 Leu/ml
Causes and associated symptoms
The following are some causes of leukocytes in the urine:
tract infections The urinary bladder is an important part of the urinary system.
Thus, any abnormality of this organ, such as an infection (cystitis), can cause the accumulation of numerous white blood cells in the urine.
In women, bacteria can enter through the urethra, while in men, they enter through the prostate.
An infection can cause a painful burning sensation when urinating and urine may appear cloudy.
Another important reason for increased levels of leukocytes in the urine could be an infection of the kidneys known as pyelonephritis.
The infection begins in the urinary tract and then spreads to the kidneys.
As already indicated, the kidneys are responsible for filtering the blood and not allowing white blood cells to enter the urine.
However, if the kidneys are not functioning properly and are affected by an infection, this is a way for the white blood cells to get into the urine. Pyelonephritis occurs more often in women than in men.
▶ Interstitial nephritis
This is one of those kidney diseases in which the space between the renal tubules becomes inflamed.
This hinders the kidneys’ ability to filter the waste products, which may be a reason for the presence of white blood cells in the urine.
Other symptoms that may be accompanied by pyuria include vomiting, nausea, decreased urine output, fluid retention, etc.
▶ Obstruction of the urinary tract
Any obstacle in the urinary tract system can disrupt the function, which then leads to pyuria. The most common obstruction is caused by the formation of concrements (e.g. bladder and kidney stones) in parts of the bladder, urethra or kidneys.
Sometimes the appearance of white blood cells can indicate serious diseases such as a bladder tumor or systemic lupus erythematosus that affect the entire body.
▶ Other causes
Apart from the above, there are many other possible causes.
Symptoms of leukocytes in the urine
- Fever and chills
- Frequent urination
- Blood in the urine
- Feeling of pain and burning when urinating
- Foul-smelling and dark urine
When to worry?
If a person reports some of these symptoms and leukocytes are contained in the urine, he should see the doctor who will initiate appropriate treatment.
How to treat? Therapy for leukocytes in the urine
Therapy for abnormal levels of leukocytes in the urine depends primarily on the cause of the infection.
A cycle of antibiotics works well to fight the infection.
However, if the infection takes on a considerable extent, a visit to the doctor is recommended to conduct necessary therapy. In some cases, hospitalization may also be necessary.
Proper hygiene is one of the most important factors that can keep an infection away.
Personal body care is important.
Change underwear and towels daily.
Foods high in vitamins B and C strengthen the immune system, which helps the body fight the infection effectively.
It is recommended to consume garlic, which has an antibiotic effect.
Causes of leukocytes in the urine during pregnancy
Urinary tract infection
During pregnancy, the risk of urinary tract infection is higher.
Yeast infection is another common cause. This infection is caused by yeast called candida. Yeast infection during pregnancy is often associated with an increase in female sex hormones, which creates favorable preconditions for the growth of these fungi in the female genital apparatus.
More specifically, kidney infection is the advanced and very serious phase of a urinary tract infection.
If left untreated, a urinary tract infection often causes various types of kidney infections.
A kidney infection is known as pyelonephritis, which causes white blood cells in the urine.
This type of infection is often accompanied by other symptoms, such as:
- General physical pain, etc.
There are many other causes that lead to the presence of white blood cells or leukocytes in the urine during pregnancy. Here is a brief explanation of these causes:
- Asymptomatic bacteriuria: This is one of the most common causes characterized by bacterial growth inside the bladder and causes no symptoms.
- Glomerulonephritis: Glomerulonephritis refers to inflammation of the blood vessels of the kidneys and can be caused by diabetes.
- Cystitis: Cystitis is characterized by inflammation of the ureters and urinary tract.
- Phenacetinniere: Nephritis caused by phenacetin is characterized by a kidney infection caused by phenacetin (a painkiller).
Leukocytes in the urine of children
In children, an increase in leukocytes is very likely due to urinary tract infection.
5% of girls and 1 – 2% of boys develop a urinary tract infection.
If a child is suspected of infection or leukocytes in the urine, many symptoms are observed. The child may have difficulty urinating and urine may spread a foul odor. Signs of a urinary tract infection also include:
- Stomach ache
Infection in infants
Newborns and infants have a weak immune system.
This is one of the reasons why breastfeeding the child is so important: it gives the newborn antibodies to better fight infections.
As a result, breastfed children suffer fewer infections than children who are bottle-raised.
If a newborn develops an infection, this can be a cause for great concern.
Because infants can get sick very quickly.
Fortunately, they also respond quickly to therapy if the infection is detected in time.
If a doctor suspects that a newborn child has an infection, he immediately begins antibiotic therapy.
Causes of infection of newborns
The mother’s birth canal contains bacteria, especially if there is an active infection.
During birth, the child may swallow or inhale fluid from the birth canal and bacteria or viruses may enter the lungs and blood.
The child may fall ill during childbirth or in the first days after birth. Because bacteria or viruses multiply, the newborn can fall ill very quickly.
The sooner the infection is detected and treated, the better the results for the newborn.
Occasionally, after being born, an infant may get an infection from someone who has a cold or influenza.
Erythrocytes and leukocytes in the urine
Red blood cells (or erythrocytes) in the urine can be a sign of some problems involving the bladder and kidneys.
In healthy people, some erythrocytes (or red blood cells) are often found in the urine sample. However, this is nothing to worry about.
However, a high red blood cell count (or so much that urine discolors) is likely a sign of a problem.
The formal term for increased occurrence of red blood cells in the urine is hematuria.
- One possible cause is contamination of the urine sample in women when they take their urine during menstruation for examination.
It is therefore recommended to take the urine sample a few days before the start of the menstrual cycle.
- The cause may also be a previous trauma to the urethra (after catheterization or other lesion).
- If white blood cells are also present, this is a sign of inflammation or infection along the urinary tract. Red blood cells in urine may also be related to constrictions, concrements (stones), or internal injuries.
- For example, someone who has been kicked or boxed in the kidney area often produces urine mixed with blood due to kidney damage.
- Sometimes intense physical exercise can be a cause and occasionally a person may have blood in their urine after a long run, such as a marathon.
- In some cases, malignant tumors may be related to red blood cells in the urine. In such a situation, traces of cancer cells can also be excreted, which the pathologist then identifies.
- Some disorders or medications can cause blood in the urine.
Nitrites e nitrates
Nitrates are usually present in urine, while nitrites should not be present. However, some bacteria convert nitrates into nitrites.
If nitrites are present, this may indicate an existing infection.