Causes of Leukocytes in Urine
We all know that leukocytes are the white blood cells which defend our body against any bacterial or viral invasion. However, if leukocytes are found in urine, it is a strong sign indicating an underlying infection. An increased excretion through the urine is also known as leukocyturia. There can be various causes to this condition, which include some of the following:
- Pyelonephritis (ascending urinary tract infection)
- Glomerulonephritis (inflammation of blood vessels in kidney)
- Phenacetin nephritis (renal infection caused by phenacetin)
- Bacterial infection of the lower genitourinary tract
- Cystitis (inflammation of urinal tract and ureter)
- Over stretching urinal bladder (not relieving the bladder on urgency)
- Bladder Infections
Detecting Leukocytes in Urine Test
Urinalysis is a process where a urine sample is collected by passing a catheter through the urethra into the bladder. Once the sample is collected, a thin strip of plastic, i.e. a dipstick infused with chemicals is dipped in the urine sample, to observe if there is any change in the urine color. The normal color of urine is always pale yellow and thin. Any change in the color indicates there may be an infection onset. A macroscopic examination is further carried out to check for the presence and variations in the levels of red blood cells, leukocytes, ketones, proteins, glucose, nitrites and blood in urine.
Presence of leukocyte esterase (enzyme of the white blood cells) in the urine can be found via urinalysis. This is a strong indication of urinary tract infection. Leukocytes in urine is more prevalent in women than men, pertaining to the physiology of women, whose urethra are shorter and closer to the anus. Besides, even acidity of urine aids in deciding the health of a person. And last but not the least, concentration of the urine, which can be easily obtained from urinalysis can help in evaluating the acidity and the concentration of the urine sample. A high acidity may indicate metabolic disorders, electrolytic imbalances and allergic nature to certain foods. A concentrated urine (a cloudy urine) indicates an abnormal kidney function.
The indication of white blood cells in urine analysis, if found, should be taken seriously as the person may be suffering from hematuria or some grave kidney infection. There are other factors too which can possibly facilitate excretion of large amount of leukocytes in urine, like tumors, kidney stones and bladder obstructions. However, in pregnant women, this condition is not that alarming an issue, as it is common for the vaginal wall to shed some white blood cells along with the urine. But if there is an alarming level of leukocytes in urine, immediate medical attention must be sought.
A swollen kidney (can be felt externally by touch), a bladder tumor, frequent and painful urination, cloudy and foul-smelling urine and urine color tinged with pink or red indicate the presence of leukocytes in urine. To combat such kidney infections, there are antibiotics available over the counter, which must be taken only as per doctor's prescription. But the best medicine is water. One must drink lot of water everyday. At least 8 pints of water a day is a must. Detecting white blood cells during urinalysis is quite a serious condition and can lead to many cascading ailments which can later culminate into a life-threatening condition.