Leukocytes or white blood cells (WBC) are the cells that are in charge of protecting the body from diseases, microorganisms, and other pathogens. They can be detected in the blood or urine during some infection, but can be present during some physiological processes such as stress, bad nutrition, poor sleep, etc. There are a few types of leukocytes which can indicate a different type of disease.
There is a limit for the leukocytes found in urine, since a minimal amount is normal, counting from 1-10 per visible space under the microscope. This is due to the process when the cells get damaged and they get expelled via urine. The presence of high level of leukocytes in urine is usually linked with an infection and it is a sign that it needs further diagnosis and/or a proper treatment. The level of urine excretion can be measured during routine urine test with urine strips which is a cheap and a fast way to examine the urine for many substances such as white and red blood cells, glucose, nitrates, etc.
What Can Be an Indirect Sign/Symptom of Leukocytes in Urine?
Sometimes, there aren’t symptoms of leukocytes presence in the urine. The symptoms that can be linked with white blood cells in urine are usually the symptoms of a urinary tract infection. This can be fever, painful urinating (dysuria), shivering, cloudy urine and foul odor urine. There are many conditions which can be causes of this kind of symptoms such as an inflammation, kidney infection, kidney or bladder tumor which can be also accompanied with blood in urine, etc.
When this happens, the doctor will usually make diagnostic test, starting with urine strip test which can be used for checking white blood cells and also other inflammation cells. The results can be useful for knowing in which way to investigate next. There are also home tests which allow you to check these parameters at your home and any abnormal test is a sign that you should visit your doctor for further testing. In most cases, the doctor will prescribe you some drugs such as antibiotics for bacterial infection. If some other testing is needed, the ultrasound is good for kidney stone testing, and other testing may vary according to the condition.
Possible Causes of White Blood Cells in Urine
There are some possibilities of which some are benign and some can lead to serious conditions, so you might want to check these symptoms and surely visit your doctor to prevent any complication.
Bladder or Kidney Infection
Inflamed bladder or kidney can lead to leukocyte number growth. They are mostly transmitted from the outside and bottom of the urinary tract, through the urethra all the way up to the kidney. The females have a higher potential for urinary infections since their urethra is shorter in length and the possibility of microorganism entering the system is more likely to happen. People who are in a condition of the bad immune system are more prone to this kind of infections. Urinary tract infection is also common in hospitals among patients who have a urinary catheter. Another possibility for bacteria entering the urinary system is sexual intercourse which can lead to an infection if the area is not clean and has a potential cause on the surface which can be transferred inside during the intercourse.
Having higher leukocytes level in urine among pregnant women can also be quite common. A woman can have contamination of vagina and it is important to check for a bladder infection in order to prevent any complications and make sure to avoid any adverse effects.
Blockage of Urinary Track
Some people can develop a stone in the kidney or bladder. When that stone starts to move inside the urinary track, it can block the passage and it can cause urine stasis. If the urine stays too long in the pelvis, it can lead to infection due to bacteria development and leukocytes appearance in the urine. If the stone damages the mucous membrane, it can be accompanied with blood in urine as well. Other possible causes of blockage in the urinary tract are tumors or other unwanted and foreign objects.
People that don’t urinate regularly and hold their urine for too long till they go to the bathroom may have some damaging outcomes. If the bladder gets stretched all the time, the muscles can weaken which can lead to dilatation of the bladder which can end up in urine retention and in the inability to excrete the urine completely. This can benefit the bacteria development which leads to infection and leukocytes in urine.
One of the common causes of leukocytes in urine is an excessive exercise which can lead to higher white blood cells inside the urine. This usually isn’t dangerous and it will subside on its own. If you have other symptoms and you do exercise more frequently, be sure to state that to your doctor.
How to Treat Leukocytes in Urine?
According to the condition, the treatment can be totally different. Here are some of the most common treatments.
Most urinary infections are bacterial and doctors opt for antibiotics. If some infection is more serious, a doctor may suggest hospitalization and further examination.
Diet and Hygiene
It is important to keep your hygiene on high in order to prevent bacteria entering the urinary tract. Wash your genital area frequently and use warm water and neutral pH soap. Dry the area afterward in order to keep the genitalia dry. Wear cotton underwear and avoid sexual intercourse for a while. Eat cranberry juice, lots of water. This will keep your pH on the right level and prevent further acidic development. Intake B and C vitamins and you can also include baking soda which can be useful in keeping the pH alkaline.