The Urinary system consists of a number of different parts, including the kidneys, the urethra, the bladder and the ureters. A test known as urinalysis is normally used to detect the occurrence of leukocytes in urine. The detection of leukocytes in urine via the above mentioned test most often indicates that there may be infection of the urinary tract. However, leukocytes in urine may result from other causes as well.
What are leukocytes ?
The white blood cells that occur throughout the body and the blood and which aid in protection against infections are also known as leukocytes. All of us know that healthy urine is clear and does not have blood or any of its constituents. Hence, the detection of leukocytes in urine usually points to the presence of a health abnormality such as infection of the urinary system by bacteria.
The levels of leukocytes in urine in a healthy individual will generally be around 0-10 lev/vl. However, people with different conditions may have increased levels of leukocytes in urine, measuring more than 20 lev/vl. Such instances have to be immediately addressed by a health care provider. However, one needs to remember the fact that leukocytes in urine can only be detected with the aid of a urine test, which is usually a urinalysis. Hence, people who are facing health issues may visit a doctor for tests, wherein the excessive levels of leukocytes in urine may be detected.
A doctor will generally recommend a patient to undergo a urinalysis as it is the best type of urine test to detect excessive levels of leukocytes in urine. This abnormality can result in bladder or kidney damage. Also, certain patients with more than normal levels of leukocytes in urine have experienced damage of both the kidneys and the bladder.
Individuals who are affected by the signs of a UTI or urinary tract infection may use a home kit test, to verify the occurrence of leukocytes in urine, in addition to other undesirable substances like protein and nitrites in urine. However, the home kit test may not be enough and the patient may need to visit a diagnostic center to get the urine sample checked. The laboratory with then perform three kinds of tests on the urine, i.e. microscopic, chemical and visual tests. All these tests are important in proper analysis of urine and also to determine the overall health of the concerned individual.
Symptoms of leukocytes in urine
The signs and symptoms which may aid the detection of leukocytes in urine are listed below:
- One or both kidneys may be inflamed
- The urine may emanate an unpleasant smell
- A cloudy appearance of the urine
- Presence of a bladder tumor
- Occurrence of fever along with shivers and chills
- Presence of a pre-existing medical condition like systemic lupus erythematosus can cause leukocytes in urine
- Burning sensations or intense pain at the time of urination
- Increased urge to urinate frequently
- Detection of blood in the urine
Leukocytes in urine – causes
The causes of leukocytes in urine are as follows:
- Withholding urine for long durations can result in overstretching of the bladder, which can then cause the bladder to become increasingly weak. A weak bladder may not be able to discharge urine completely leading to left over urine. Such stagnant urine is at increased risk to bacterial infections, resulting in urinary tract infections and ultimately leukocytes in urine.
- A number of medical conditions such as prostrate hypertrophy, bladder or kidney stones, abdominal trauma, tumor in the pelvis, etc. or the occurrence of undesirable substances in the urinary tract can result in blockage of the urinary system. Such obstruction can then result in blood or leukocytes in urine
- The kidneys can become infected with organisms in a variety of ways, leading to occurrence of leukocytes in urine. Infection of the kidneys normally commence in the urinary tract which then spread to other sections like the kidneys. People with a weakened immune system or those who use urinary catheters for long durations are at increased vulnerability to developing infections of the kidneys, than others.
- Leukocytes in urine can also be caused due to a disorder known as cystitis, which results in urinary tract and ureters inflammation or bladder infections.
- It is normal for pregnant women to have leukocytes in urine, along with other substances such as white blood cells, proteins, etc. in the urine. However, pregnant women need to visit a doctor when the condition persists or when the levels of leukocytes in urine is extremely high.
- When bacteria pass into the urethra during sexual intercourse then the chances of leukocytes in urine also increase.
Treatment of leukocytes in urine
- Treatment of leukocytes in urine involves detection of the disease causing the condition and then treating it. A few patients may require hospitalization.
- Bacterial infections of the urinary tract and the nearby tissues may be treated with antibiotics
- Kidney stones, pelvic tumors, etc. may require surgical treatment