What do White Blood Cells in Urine mean?

In normal circumstances, there are usually no blood cells in urine because kidney does not let the blood cells to mix with urine and blood doesn’t come in contact with urine. If your urine contains while blood cells, this isn’t normal. There are diseases and disorders, which may however cause while blood cells to leak into urine such as kidney and bladder infections or kidney stones.


When detected, white blood cells in urine are treated based on the causal factor. The condition or disorder likely to be causing white blood cells to be released to urine may require treatment. Different diseases and infections can cause this problem.

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What are the causes of white blood cells (WBCs) in urine?

white blood cells in urine images

Urinary tract infection is one condition associated with presence of white blood cells in a person’s urine. When bacteria enter the urethra, they can travel up and reach the bladder causing a condition known as cystitis. Cystitis is an infection of bladder. Some people are more prone to the urinary tract infections than others.


For example, women have shorter urethra when compared to men; this makes them to have a higher propensity of developing UTIs. However, men can also have the infections, and it mostly starts in prostate and moves up to the bladder causing the same condition- cystitis in men. An individual with cystitis shows symptoms such as bladder spasms, urinary frequency, and the urgency to urinate in every few minutes.


One may experience pain just above pubic bone. When there is urinary tract infection and the subsequent cystitis, it may allow blood cells to leak in urine causing urinary tests to show presence of white blood cells. Pyelonephritis is another condition that has been associated with WBCs in urine.


Pyelonephritis is an infection of kidney. People with pyelonephritis have symptoms such as fever, severe pain, nausea, malaise, and vomiting. Pyelonephritis is caused by viral or bacterial infection. It may affect people of all ages though is common among women.


Another possible cause of WBCs in urine is kidney stones. When an individual develops kidney stones, they prevent the passing of urine in urethra. Due to this, the urine stagnates and increases the risk of one having a bacterial infection. The urethra can become irritating due to the stones and white blood cells may leak and enter the urine.

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People with kidney stones experience severe pain, which comes in waves. A person with these stones may find it difficult to stay in same position. When the stones block urethra, it becomes difficult to urinate or a person may pass only small amounts of urine. During urination, pain may occur. The movement of kidney stones can cause bruising on the urethra lining allowing the blood cells to leak and enter into urine.

White blood cells in urine but no infection

Interstitial cystitis occurs due to inflammation of bladder but it is not caused by an infection. The white blood cells can appear in urine when the bladder is inflamed due to other causes other than an infection. Interstitial cystitis occurs more in women than men. It causes an individual to experience pelvic pain, urinary frequency, and urinary urgency.


Urinary tract obstruction

The urinary tract can be blocked by things like tumors, stones, pelvic trauma, or enlarged prostate. Anything that blocks urinary tract system may cause white blood cells to get into urine. Symptoms of urinary tract obstruction are extreme pain, hematuria, and difficult with starting and maintaining urinary stream. Other possible causes of presence of WBCs in urine are such as medicines, excessive exercise, blood disorders, and cancers.


Treatment of white blood cells in urine

Establishing the cause of the white blood cells in urine helps determine the kind of treatment to be offered. When the causal factor is eliminated, it prevents the cells from getting into urine. When the cause of the cells in urine is from urinary tract infections, a patient may be administered with antibiotics to kill the bacteria causing the UTIs. In the event that white blood cells are appearing in urine due to interstitial cystitis, a doctor may administer oral medications to help protect the bladder’s mucous lining and reduce inflammation.


Hormone level adjustment may also be done. In case the conservation treatment does not bear fruits, surgery may be opted to correct the problem causing the interstitial cystitis. Remember that interstitial cystitis, which is an inflammation of bladder, is not caused by infection. Presence of white blood cells in the urine due to pyelonephritis may be treated using antibiotics.


Usually, viral infections may not have specific treatment but because such infection can allow bacteria to attack the infected are, antibiotics are used to contain the bacteria infection. Pyelonephritis may be caused by both viral and bacterial infection. Kidney stones may be broken up using ultrasound or removed through a surgical procedure. At times, kidney stones can pass with urine and might not require treatment. Kidney stones can cause a lot of pain and to reduce that pain, pain relievers may be administered.

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