The white blood cells present in your body are known as leukocytes. These blood cells are present all across your body as well as in blood stream. They help your body to resist and fight off various diseases and infections.
Now, Sometimes these white blood cells are found to be present in your urine. There can be various causes behind such change in your body. However, It is mostly seen as an indication of some infection in your urinary tract.
Your urinary system consists of different components like kidney, bladder, urethra, and ureters. Hence, the presence of leukocytes in your urine can be an indication of infection in these other parts also.
An abnormal level of leukocytes in your urine can be very dangerous. It can result in the damage of both your kidneys and bladder. Therefore, it is important to attain knowledge about this condition. It will help you to seek medical attention in proper time.
In this article, I will discuss all the causes, symptoms and treatments of the leukocytes in urine which will help you identify and treat the problem at a correct time.
1. CAUSES OF LEUKOCYTES IN URINE
There can be multiple causes behind the presence of leukocytes in your urine. It is mainly an indication that your body is trying to fight off some infection in your urinary tract, bladder or urethra. However, I will also discuss in detail about some other causes.
- 1.1 DURING PREGNANCY
- 1.2 AFTER CONCEIVING OF A BABY
- 1.3 RENAL INFECTION
- 1.4 DELAYED MICTURITION
- 1.5 URINE PASSAGE BLOCKADE
- 1.6 INTERSTITIAL CYSTITIS
- 1.7 AUTOIMMUNE DISEASE
- 2. SYMPTOMS OF LEUKOCYTES IN URINE
- 3. DIAGNOSIS METHOD
- 4. TREATMENT
- 5. OTHER TIPS TO TREAT LEUKOCYTES IN URINE
1.1 DURING PREGNANCY
The most important test to be taken during pregnancy is urine analysis test. Your doctor will always insist on taking this test in order to detect the presence of leukocytes in your urine. It is important to take this test during pregnancy because it might be a sign of some infection in your body. This might be harmful to you and your baby.
There can be various causes behind this problem, especially during pregnancy. Some of them are listed below:
i) Urinary tract infection:
It is found to be one of the most common causes behind the presence of leukocytes in a pregnant women’s urine. Also, women who are sexually active during the age 20 to 50. It is because in both the cases, the bacteria can travel from your skin to urethra. These bacteria spread and cause infection in the urinary tract. This further causes inflammation and damage to kidneys.
ii) Kidney infections:
In case, urinary tract infection is not treated on time, it will lead to kidney infection. During kidney infection, your body will show symptoms like high fever, lower back pain, nausea, and vomiting. Hence, this is the main reason why pregnant women have to be admitted in hospitals sometimes.
However, a mild kidney infection can be treated with antibiotics but if this kidney infection goes untreated, it might cause premature labor or premature rupture of membranes in your body.
iii) Asymptomatic bacteriuria:
Sometimes, a urinary tract infection in your body might not show any symptoms. However, this only occurs in 2 to 10% of pregnant women. But, if this infection goes untreated, a kidney infection might occur leading to complications during pregnancy.
iv) Other reasons:
Another reason of the presence of leukocytes in a pregnant women’s urine is vaginal secretion. For this, it is advised to cleanse yourself properly during pregnancy.
1.2 AFTER CONCEIVING OF A BABY
Usually, during pregnancy, the WBC levels in your body increases. It is due to contaminations in your vagina. As a result, these leukocytes are excreted out of your body along with the urine. It is expected to stop once your baby is conceived.
However, after conceiving your baby, you might face this issue again. The possible reason behind this can be following:
i) Bladder infection
ii) Increased level of protein excreted in urine
iii) Contamination in the vagina
In case, you observe such symptoms, it is advised to consult your gynecologist as soon as possible.
1.3 RENAL INFECTION
The presence of leukocytes in your urine is often an indication of renal infection. The responsible infectious agents first invade the urinary tract and then spread to kidneys. Not only kidneys, but this infection can occur in any part of the renal system.
They include urinary bladder, ureters, and urethra. These associated symptoms are further recognized as a cause for leukocytes in your urine.
The causes behind the development of renal infection can be listed as follows:
i) Poor personal hygiene
ii) Insertion of urinary catheter
iii) Weak immune system
iv) Unsafe sexual intercourse
1.4 DELAYED MICTURITION
When you hold your urine for a longer period of time, it is known as delayed micturition. Due to this, your bladder is unable to release the accumulated urine completely. This remaining urine in your body becomes a breeding source for bacteria. Eventually, these bacteria multiply and spread infection in your body. Ultimately, resulting in leukocytes in your urine.
1.5 URINE PASSAGE BLOCKADE
Urinary passage blockade is a blockage in your urinary tract which hinders the smooth flow of urine from your body. This can occur due to accidental trauma, renal calculi or enlargement of prostate gland. This results in an increased level of leukocytes in your urine. Sometimes, These leukocytes might also get accompanied by blood in your urine.
1.6 INTERSTITIAL CYSTITIS
The swelling in your urinary bladder due to the formation of cysts is called interstitial cystitis. It is a chronic condition and is also known as painful bladder syndrome. In this, the bladder becomes inflamed and causes pelvic pain between anus and vagina. This pain increases as the bladder fill up. Thus, increasing the urge to urinate ( polyuria ) which results in increased level of leukocytes in your urine.
1.7 AUTOIMMUNE DISEASE
An autoimmune disease like systematic lupus erythematosus affects your kidney. It can also cause urine retention in your bladder. This can provide a breeding source to bacteria, further developing an infection. Thus, developing leukocytes in your urine.
2. SYMPTOMS OF LEUKOCYTES IN URINE
White blood cells or leukocytes are not something which could be seen through the naked eye. Instead, they bring some other symptoms with themselves. These symptoms help us identify whether your urine contains leukocytes or not.
Usually, a normal urine is clear and straw colored. Although, here is some list of symptoms that you might see if your urine is carrying leukocytes with it.
- Frequent urination ( polyuria )
- Stinking smell in urine
- Cloudy urine
- Painful micturition
- Presence of blood in urine ( Haematuria )
- Burning sensation in the urethra
- Lower abdomen pain
3. DIAGNOSIS METHOD
The best way to diagnose leukocytes in your urine is to conduct a urine analysis test. This will help you to confirm whether or not leukocytes are actually present in your urine. In this test, you have to provide your urine sample to the lab. They will analyze your urine to identify the quantities of following:
- Red blood cells
- Other substances
Normally, the WBC content of normal urine is in between 0-5 WBCs per high power field (WBC/HPF). Now, in case the WBC level in your urine is seen more than this range, Then it definitely contains leukocytes.
Also, if bacteria is detected during this test, it will be seen as a sign of urinary tract infection. Now, after this, a urine culture test is conducted to identify the type of bacterial infection you have.
This test will also help you to diagnose kidney stones. However, a CT scan or an X-ray will help your doctor to actually see the stones. This will further help him decide if it has to be treated through fluid intake or wave reduction method.
Before starting any treatment, a doctor will advise you to conduct a strip test. It is an easy and convenient method to estimate leukocyte level in your urine. After the results of this test, conduct urine analysis test.
It will then determine the infectious agent or the main cause of the presence of leukocytes in your urine. After all these tests, a proper treatment will be recommended. Some of those treatments are as follows:
In order to reduce the infection, it is always advised to take antibiotics. A proper antibiotic is prescribed based on the nature of the infectious agent.
In case you have a severe kidney infection, it is advised to do close monitoring and take the continuous support of healthcare staff. In such conditions, without proper care, the situation can become fatal and out of control
4.2 BETTER MAINTENANCE OF PERSONAL HYGIENE
This is a general change in your lifestyle which can bring a lot of improvement in your condition. It will decrease the infection in your urinary tract and the level of leukocytes in your urine.
i) Regularly washing the genital organs with mild soap water and properly drying will highly control the infection.
ii) Avoiding a sexual intercourse during infection period will restrict the spreading of this infection.
iii) Use washed undergarments and towel.
iv) Wash your hands frequently to avoid infectious agents.
When there are toxic agents present in your body, the act as an oxidizing agent for cyst formation in renal system. Increasing the intake of antioxidants like fruits and vegetables will help in getting rid of these toxins from your body.
It will improve your immunity system which will help your body to fight against infectious agents. Thus, decreasing the chances of development of infections in your renal system.
Vitamin B complex and vitamin C are two such important antioxidants which will help your body to fight against bacteria. Especially for pregnant women, these two vitamins are highly recommended.
Lemon, blueberries, watermelon, and cranberries are also some sources of vitamin B and C.
4.4 INCREASED FLUID INTAKE
When the pH level of urine is disturbed, it suggests that your body is fighting some infection. In such cases, it is advised to drink more water and fruit juices. It will maintain the urine pH level and decrease leukocytes in your urine.
4.5 OTHER TREATMENTS AND REMEDIES
i) Uva ursi:
Uva ursi is a species of plant named bearberries. It has been used for centuries to treat UTIs. It cleanses the urinary tract, relieves pain, fights infection, and treats kidney stones.
ii) Goldenseal :
Goldenseal is one of the most powerful herbal anti-microbial remedies. The main ingredient in goldenseal is berberine. Naturopathic doctors have a long history of using goldenseal for treating infections like UTI. However, there is no conclusive evidence of its efficiency and further research is needed.
iii) Low oxalate diet:
A diet high in oxalate is said to be responsible for 80% cases with frequent kidney stones. Foods high in oxalates include okra, spinach, Swiss chard, beets, rhubarb, dried figs, buckwheat, peanuts, peanut butter, almonds, and sesame seeds. Low oxalate foods include arugula, onions, zucchini, avocado, lemons, limes, cherries, wild rice, coconut, cinnamon, ginger, thyme, beef, chicken, eggs, and turkey.
iv) Easing pain through heat:
Inflammation due to UTI can cause a lot of pressure and pain around your lower back and pubic area. To treat this, try some heat therapy. Apply heat pad with a lower temperature on the painful area. Continue this for 10 to 15 minutes. It will provide you with a lot of relief and relaxation.
v) Eat some yogurt:
Yogurt is considered to be a dairy treat packed with probiotics i.e good bacteria. Eating yogurt will help your body to kill the bad bacteria responsible for infection in your body.
vi) Drink parsley water:
Parsley water is a natural diuretic. It will help flush out toxins and bad bacteria out of your system. Also, it will automatically result in reduced infection and removal of leukocytes from your urine.
vii) Consume dilutes apple cider vinegar:
Apple cider vinegar is a natural antibacterial. It will fight off the bacteria causing infection in your urinary tract. Eventually resulting in reduced leukocytes in your urine.
viii) Other supportive nutrients:
Other nutrients and supplements that help reduce the chances of kidney problems include magnesium, vitamin A, vitamin E, vitamin B6, and inositol hexakisphosphate (IP-6). Probiotics and D-Mannose. These can help in treating and preventing bladder infections.
ix) Other herbal remedies:
There are also other herbs that help treat kidney problems like aloe vera, dandelion root, horsetail, and juniper berry. Echinacea and oil of oregano which can help treat the bladder infection.
x) Homeopathy :
Homeopathic remedies are great for both bladder infections and kidney stones. Aconitum napellus, in particular, is useful for the first two hours of a bladder infection. If kidney stones are accompanied by vomiting, nausea, and cramping, Nux vomica is suggested.
4.6 SURGICAL PROCEDURE
In the case of a urinary tract blockage or obstruction, you may need a surgical procedure. There might be some complicated condition like tumor or kidney stone which is not possible to be treated naturally.
In the case of kidney stones, large stones can be broken down using sound waves. These broken down stones will pass through your urine afterward.
In the case of blockade removal, chemotherapy and radiation can be of help.
5. OTHER TIPS TO TREAT LEUKOCYTES IN URINE
- Never hesitate to urinate. Increasing the delay in urination results in higher infection.
- Avoid antacids that contain aluminum. They cause kidney stones, especially when eaten after dairy products.
- Eliminate alcohol, caffeine, and salt from your diet. They contribute to dehydration.
- Take aromatherapy. It is an effective remedy for kidney and bladder infections. Oils like chamomile and lavender are good essential oils which will help you in both types of infections.