White cells in urine is an abnormal condition, although not necessarily an indication of something serious. In any event, the presence of white cells in urine generally means an infection is present, and if it is a bacterial infection, the condition is usually remedied quickly and easily through the use of antibiotics. There are instances however where the presence of these white cells can mean something of a more serious nature is occurring. If your doctor or your clinic, in performing a urinalysis, or examining the urine by visual means, notices the presence of white blood cells, or WBCs, they will almost always conduct a further examination to determine the cause.
Urine is a waste product secreted by the kidneys. In most instances urine is sterile, and contains neither white nor red blood cells. Red blood cells have no way mixing with urine unless inflammation or tissue damage is present somewhere in the urinary tract. The kidneys, when functioning normally, block white blood cells, preventing them from mixing with the urine stream.
An Accumulation Of White Blood Cells Indicates An Infection
About 1% of the blood cells in the human body consist of white blood cells. These white blood cells are infection fighters, and are rushed to any location in the body where an infection happens to be occurring. We normally see these white blood cells in the form of pus when an infection has occurred at or near the surface of the skin or other surface tissues. White cells in urine therefore are indicative of an infection that has taken place somewhere in the urinary tract, in the kidneys, or in the bladder.
Urinary Tract Infections Are Common
In most instances, the presence of white cells indicates the presence of a urinary tract infection or UTI. In most instances, a UTI is not serious and is easily treated. If the presence of white cells are due to a problem in the bladder or kidneys however, it could mean the presence of kidney stones, the presence of a tumor in the bladder, or inflammation or damage of some sort to one or both of the kidneys. An inflammation of the vagina in women can also lead to white cells in urine.
Bladder Infections Are Also Common
An infection in the bladder is a fairly common cause of WBCs in the urine, especially among young boys and younger men. An infection in the bladder, called cystitis, is on the other hand, more common among adult women than among adult men. The symptoms include a necessity to urinate frequently, bladder spasms, and occasionally pain in the pelvic area. Antibiotics are used to treat cystitis. Cystitis is sometimes caused by the presence of one or more kidney stones.
Kidney Infections – Less Common But Easily Treatable
A somewhat more serious condition that can lead to WBCs in the urine has a rather tongue-twisting designation. It’s pyelonephritis, an infection of the kidney. The symptoms of pyelonephritis tend to be much more severe than those associated with cystitis. The condition can in fact cause significant pain. As is the case with cystitis, the standard treatment for a kidney infection is an antibiotic.
“Straw-Colored” Is Best
What your urine looks like often tells you a great deal about your health. White cells in urine can make the urine appear cloudy rather than clear, but cloudy urine can be a result of other things as well. Urine is normally quite clear and is pale yellow to yellow in color. The ideal color of one’s urine has been described by some as being “straw-colored”. When urine is very pale it’s usually the result of drinking plenty of water. If it is completely colorless however, and is that way more or less on a consistent basis, it can be a sign of kidney disease. When urine is a very deep or dark yellow it’s usually a sign of dehydration. Red urine means there is blood in the urine, which is something that is not necessarily serious, but always should be looked into. Blood in the urine doesn’t necessarily make the urine red, but will often make it very dark. If dark-colored urine is a result of dehydration, drinking a few glasses of water should cause the color to lighten up. If your urine happens to have a very bright yellow color, and if you are taking vitamin supplements, it is usually an indication that a significant portion of those supplements are simply being eliminated – money going down the drain, so to speak.
The saying “you are what you eat” could apply to your urine, at least as to its odor. Urine normally has a slightly musty odor, described by some as a nut-like odor. Certain foods and some medications, especially antibiotics, can cause the urine to have a strong and even unpleasant odor. Asparagus is notorious for imparting a very strong odor into one’s urine. A UTI, mentioned above as a common cause of white cells in urine, can sometimes give the urine a strong, unpleasant odor.