Leukocytes, or white blood cells, are a normal part of the urine in small quantities. However, high levels of leukocytes in the urine can be a sign of an underlying medical condition, such as:
- Urinary tract infection (UTI): A UTI is an infection of the urinary tract, which includes the kidneys, ureters, bladder, and urethra. UTIs are the most common cause of leukocytes in the urine.
- Kidney stones: Kidney stones are hard deposits that form in the kidneys. They can cause pain, bleeding, and inflammation in the urinary tract, which can lead to leukocytes in the urine.
- Prostatitis: Prostatitis is an inflammation of the prostate gland. It can cause pain, difficulty urinating, and leukocytes in the urine.
- Pyelonephritis: Pyelonephritis is a kidney infection. It can cause fever, flank pain, and leukocytes in the urine.
- Cancer: Cancer of the bladder, kidneys, or prostate gland can also cause leukocytes in the urine.
Other less common causes of leukocytes in the urine include:
- Interstitial nephritis: Interstitial nephritis is an inflammation of the tissue between the tubules of the kidneys.
- Glomerulonephritis: Glomerulonephritis is an inflammation of the glomeruli, which are tiny filtering units in the kidneys.
- Diabetes: Diabetes can damage the kidneys and lead to leukocytes in the urine.
- Pregnancy: Pregnancy can cause mild leukocytosis in the urine.
- Medications: Some medications, such as diuretics and antibiotics, can cause leukocytes in the urine.
If you have high levels of leukocytes in your urine, your doctor will likely order additional tests to determine the underlying cause. Treatment will depend on the specific cause of your leukocytosis.
Here are some tips to help prevent leukocytes in your urine:
- Drink plenty of fluids, especially water.
- Urinate frequently.
- Avoid holding your urine.
- Keep your genitals clean.
- Wipe from front to back after using the toilet.
- Avoid using feminine hygiene products that contain fragrances or dyes.
- If you are sexually active, use condoms to protect yourself from sexually transmitted infections (STIs).
If you have any concerns about leukocytes in your urine, please talk to your doctor.