Pyocytes in Urine: What are they and what are the Normal Values?

The presence of these elements in large amounts in the urine can be a sign of infection.

Pyocytes are white blood cells that are excreted in the urine, which can be detected during urinalysis. These are defense cells, also called leukocytes , which generally increase in number when there is infection or inflammation in the body.

Reference value

Normal WBC / Pyocyte Values: Up to 5 cells per field or 10,000 cells per ml of urine.

Elevated pyocytes in the urine are also called pyuria and may indicate a urinary tract infection. However, it is important to remember that confirmation of this suspicion also involves evaluation by the doctor, the symptoms presented, and the detection of bacteria in the urine culture.

Understand why urine culture is an important test for diagnosing a urinary tract infection .

In addition, pyocytes can also indicate other types of inflammation in the urinary tract, such as those caused by irritation or aggression of the urinary tract

Urinary tract infection

Urinary tract infection occurs when microorganisms, most commonly bacteria, spread and cause inflammation of the urinary tract, such as the urethra, bladder, ureters, and kidneys.

Also, the urine test signs that indicate infection and increased numbers of pus cells are the presence of traces of blood, such as red blood cells or hemoglobin, or nitrite-positive bacteria, for example.

Other causes

Other possible causes include:

  • Tuberculosis of the urinary tract.
  • Fungal and viral infection.
  • Nephritis and glomerulonephritis (inflammation of the kidneys).
  • Kidney stones .
  • Traumas.
  • Cancer, among others.

Significance of excess pyocytes in urine

Above the reference values, infection due to excess pyocytes is considered pyuria.

Pyuria is a condition that occurs when there are excess white blood cells or pus in the urine. Pyuria causes cloudy urine and often indicates the presence of a urinary tract infection (UTI).

Pyuria can also indicate sepsis, a life-threatening bacterial infection, or pneumonia in older adults.

In addition to pyuria, you can also have sterile pyuria – urine that contains white blood cells but still appears sterile, free of bacteria and microorganisms, depending on culture techniques.

Sterile pyuria is usually caused by sexually transmitted infections like gonorrhea and viruses.

It can also be the result of a reaction to medications (such as acetaminophen) or other conditions such as Kawasaki disease and genitourinary tuberculosis. Parasites, kidney stones, tumors and cysts, and interstitial cystitis can also cause pyuria.

Detect and treat pyuria

Both forms of pyuria can be determined from a urinalysis. Urine tests will be able to detect any bacteria that may be present. Since pyuria consists of urine that contains pus, there may be visible changes in the urine. Urine may appear cloudy or thick.

If your urine seems thick or cloudy after several trips to the bathroom throughout the day, make an appointment with your doctor for a urinalysis.

How pyuria is treated depends on how it was caused. Most cases are caused by urinary infections, which are treated with antibiotics. If your pyuria is not the result of a bacterial infection, more tests may be needed to determine the cause.

Your doctor may order blood tests or imaging tests to rule out other conditions. If you are taking medications that can cause pyuria, your doctor may ask you to discontinue them, ruling out your medications as the cause.

What else to know about urinary tract infections

Although most UTIs are not serious, they are painful. About half of all women will have at least one urinary tract infection in their lifetime. Some women will have recurrent urinary tract infections.

In most cases, antibiotic treatment will relieve UTI symptoms. You must take all prescribed antibiotics or you risk the urinary tract infection coming back.

Your doctor may ask you to return for a follow-up urinalysis after completing the antibiotic treatment to make sure the infection is completely gone.

The most common causes of urinary tract infections include bacteria from the intestines that migrate to the urethra. Women are more likely to get urinary tract infections because their urethra is closer to their anus, compared to men.

Men also have longer urethras, making it harder for bacteria to reach the bladder.

For those men who do get a UTI, they are more likely to get a second, as the bacteria that cause the infection can hide deep within the prostate tissue.

Practicing good personal hygiene can help prevent urinary tract infections. This includes always wiping from front to back after urinating and defecating, as well as daily washing of the skin around and between the vagina and rectum.

Washing or showering, both before and after sexual activity, can also reduce the risk of getting a urinary tract infection.