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Pus Cells in Urine: Normal Range, Causes, Tests, and Treatment

Asian Institute of Nephrology and Urology | November 24, 2023

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You may have seen pus cells, an off-white fluid that secretes from the injured site, usually from a popped pimple. Pus from any incision or wound indicates an underlying infection, which your immune system is actively fighting. To make it simple,its a sign of your white blood cells are fighting against that infection . Our immune system sends white blood cells to the target site if it notices a virus, bacteria, or any pathogen within your system. The pus colour could also vary from off-white to yellowish to brown.

But what if these pus cells are found in urine? Is it normal? Or does it indicate an underlying medical condition?

1. What are Pus Cells in Your Urine?

Pus in the urine is called pyuria. Some of it is considered normal, as these are just the dead white blood cells, but if they are found in excess, you might need to get the screening done. Pyuria is classified into two types: sterile and non-sterile pyuria. The former is when there’s no trace of a pathogen found in the pus. In non-sterile pyuria, pathogens will be isolated along with the pus cells.

Note that it’s possible that your urineshows sterile pyuria, but you might have a viral infection or an undetected bacterial infection. These tests might not diagnose all kinds of infections, which is why further testing is necessary to identify the root cause of the issue and figure out a suitable treatment accordingly.

2. Are They Normal?

As mentioned previously, some pus cells in your urine are considered normal, but an excess of them can indicate a medical concern, like a problem in kidney function or a urinary tract infection. The doctor will recommend a urine analysis test to figure out the amount and type of pus cells in your urine.

It is best to consult a healthcare specialist to get a proper diagnosis. They might recommend a few crucial tests to determine the cause of the pus in the urine and diagnose the underlying medical condition. If you notice cloudy urine or a sudden change in the color of the urine, see a urologist immediately.

The normal amount of pus cells found in the urine is between 0 and 5/HPF. Anything above that, especially if it reaches 10–12/HPF, is considered pyuria. If you have 10–12 HPF pus cells in your urine, you have most likely contracted a bacterial infection or urinary tract infection. Many factors can determine the presence of pus cells in your urine, ranging from hormonal conditions to medical issues. If your reports show higher-than-average pus cells, the doctor might recommend further tests to rule out the possibility of sexually transmitted diseases.

3. Causes and Symptoms of Pus Cells in Urine

A bacterial or viral infection can cause pus cells in the urine. There can be many causes for the issue. The most common is a urinary tract infection (UTI), but there can be underlying medical conditions too. Here are a few common causes of pyuria:

  • Kidney stones
  • Sexually transmitted diseases
  • Sepsis
  • Tuberculosis

Coming to the symptoms, the most common symptoms of pyuria are thick, off-whitish fluid leaking from your urine. Your urine color and texture might be different than usual. It could appear cloudy. Pus cells from UTI will be associated with burning sensation when peeing, foul-smelling urine, a sudden urge to urinate, fever, pelvic pressure and pain,urgency urinary incontinence, and nausea.

4. How Is It Diagnosed?

Pyuria can be diagnosed with a routine urine test. There’s no preparation required from the patient’s end. You must collect urine samples. The sample then goes to the lab for testing. It’s tested under the microscope to find the exact number of pus cells.

Pus cells more than 10/HPF is considered pyuria. Urologist might conduct further testing to evaluate the underlying condition. For instance, a culture and sensitivity test might be conducted to determine the right antibiotics if it’s caused by a bacterial infection.

5. How Can It Be Treated?

It’s important to reduce pus cells in your urine, which is possible only when you treat the underlying medical condition. Depending on the cause of the issue, the doctor might prescribe antibiotics for the bacterial infection that’s causing pyuria. T

It’s advisable to drink plenty of fluids to flush out the bacteria naturally from your urinary system. Remember, pyuria itself isn’t a disease, but it’s an indication of an underlying medical condition that must be treated. A surgical intervention might be needed in some cases of stone disease.

6. Complications of Pyuria

Pyuria is normal in some people, but if it’s associated with an underlying health concern, it can lead to complications, like:

  • Sepsis
  • Preterm birth or a low-weight baby in pregnant women
  • Recurrent UTI
  • Renal failure

See your urologist if you notice any symptoms of Pyuria.


No, 10–12/HPF is not normal. It’s either due to a urinary tract infection, a viral infection, a rejected organ transplant, kidney stones, or a bladder problem.

See your urologist immediately if you detect a high number of pus cells in your urine.