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Epithelial Cells In Urine During Pregnancy


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If your urine sample revels the presence of epithelial cells in your urine, you shold consider the possibility of something being wrong within the system. Presence of a small number of pus cells are normal, but a large number can indicate a serious illness.

If you find epithelial cells in your urine, talk to your doctor immediately. You can also learn more about laboratory tests and reference ranges to help you understand the results.

Pregnant women are more susceptible to having a raised number of pus cells. So, if you are pregnant, make sure you go for a routine urine test. 

The presence of epithelial cells in urine is a cause of concern. This could be a sign of infection in the urinary tract or some other underlying medical problem. It may also be a sign of contamination.

Epithelial cells, also known as pus cells, are a type of specialized cell that line the surfaces and cavities of the body. They protect the deeper tissue from the external environment and also perform several other functions.

In this article, we are going to discuss what the presence of epithelial cells in urine during pregnancy can indicate, and what you should consider if this happens. 

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What Are Epithelial Cells?

Epithelial cells are found in a variety of bodily tissues. They act as barrier cells to regulate the passage of small molecules and ions, and they also secrete chemical molecules. These cells help to protect the body from various infections by creating a barrier between the inside and outside of your body.

For example, the small intestine produces digestive enzymes. In the respiratory system, they secrete mucous. These cells also line the airways. The epithelium of the skin and lungs prevent harmful particles from entering the body.

There are three main types of pus cells. The first is the lining epithelium that lines the lining of organs, while the second type is glandular and covers the glands. They form an intricate lining throughout the body.

The lining layer of skin and intestines is made up of millions of epithelial cells. Similarly, pus cells line the throat, intestines, blood vessels, and all other organs. These cells act as a barrier to protect the body from viruses and other pathogens.

Epithelial cells are often present in urine samples. A high number of them in a urine sample may indicate kidney disease, infection of the urinary tract, or liver dysfunction. If you see more than a normal number of pus cells in your urine, it’s time to seek medical treatment.

Types of Epithelial Cells in Urine

Epithelial cells differ on the basis of size, appearance and shape. In your urine, there are three types of pus cells normally present. Here is some information about what the presence of different types of pus cells in urine indicate: 

  • Transitional

These types of epithelial cells are also known as bladder cells. They are commonly found in older adults. These cells can come from the rental pelvis as well as male urethra as well as many other areas in your body. They are round and unevenly shaped and originate in the urethra of men. In the urine, these cells may appear as small, granular casts. Although they have little clinical impact, they may be an indicator of an infection. This type of cell is normally found in small quantities, but it can also be found in larger numbers in people with bladder cancer

  • Squamous

Squamous epithelial cells found in urine can indicate infection, inflammation or cancer. This finding may also point to an underlying urogenital condition. If the cells are present in high numbers, a doctor will order a urine sample for further testing. These are the largest type of pus cells and are commonly found in female urine. They can come from the vagina as well as the urethra.

  • Renal Tubular

Rental Tubular epithelial cells are the linings of the body, including the kidneys. If an epithelial cell test shows an increase in this type of cell in your urine, it is a potential sign of a kidney problem. It is one of the most important types of pus cells. They are also known as renal cells. 

Ranges of Pus Cells in Urine during pregnancy 

During pregnancy, women may experience a range of epithelial cells in their urine. While this is an expected side effect, pregnant women may experience a higher number of pus cells in their urine than women who don’t experience these side effects. 

These abnormalities can cause a wide range of problems for both mother and unborn baby. If you’re unsure about the ranges of epithelial cells in your urine, speak to your doctor.

The pus cells’ normal range in urine during pregnancy is between 1 to 5 flat cells. If you have a higher number than this, you should have further tests done to rule out other underlying conditions. Generally, pregnant women have a higher range of epithelial cells in urine as they often suffer from UTIs. 

8-10 pus cells in urine during pregnancy should not be a cause of concern. However, if you have more than 15 epithelial cells per mL, you should see your doctor right away. High levels of pus cells in urine during pregnancy are a sign of a urinary tract infection, but they’re also an indication of other health problems.

Most of the time, the increased amount of epithelial cells in pregnant women is due to urinary tract infections. Pregnant women are more susceptible to urinary tract infections as the uterus bears down on the urinary tract. Therefore, it is important to have a urine culture to check for infection.

Urine Testing For Epithelial Cells

Urine epithelial cells are generally considered a normal finding. They occur in urine as a result of the normal shedding of cells from the urinary tract. A urine test can report the number of pus cells present and whether they are present in the nuclei of the cells. A higher than normal count can indicate kidney or liver disease or cancer. If you find more than 15 cells per cubic meter of urine, you should have a physician perform additional tests.

This test requires a urine sample, which should be free of any foreign objects, including hair, skin, or other materials. You should follow the instructions for the collection of the sample. Normally, you do not need to fast prior to undergoing the test. If you are concerned about the results, your healthcare provider will order additional tests to make a proper diagnosis. 

Urine epithelial cells may be detected in urine as an indicator of the urinary tract or kidney problems.
A doctor may order a urine test if you face symptoms like:

  • Frequent Urination
  • Back Pain
  • Pain When Urinating
  • Pain In Lower Tummy

There are three possible results for pus cell testing in urine. They are:

  • Low
  • Moderate
  • High

If you have a low count, it means that the results are normal. However, if you have a moderate or high count, it can be a sign of infection. A doctor will conduct more tests to find out the root cause of the problem.

Related Conditions for Moderate and High Amount of Epithelial Cells in the Urine

Epithelial cells are those that cover the body and are naturally found in the skin, internal organs, blood vessels, and the digestive tract. These cells also occur in the urine, although an increased amount may indicate an underlying health problem. Here are some common problems that are related to the moderate or high amount of pus cells in urine:

Risk Factors for Increased Epithelial Cells in the Urine

Infections can cause an increased number of epithelial cells in the urine. Alternatively, an increased number of pus cells could be a sign of a serious underlying health condition, such as kidney disease or a tumour.

While some people will have an increased number of epithelial cells in the urine, most people should not worry about this, and it is a normal occurrence. A normal epithelial cell count is less than 15 to 20 per HPF. 
Here are the common risk factors for an increased amount of pus cells in urine:

  • Pregnancy
  • Diabetes
  • Kidney Stones
  • Compromised Immune System
  • High Blood Pressure
  • Enlarged Prostate
  • Family History of Kidney Disease
  • Frequent UTIs
  • African, Asian, Hispanic, and American Indian descent

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Epithelial cells play an important role in protecting our body from various infections. However, during pregnancy, most women experience an increased amount of pus cells in their urine. The main reason behind this problem is urinary tract infections. Because of this reason, doctors often advise pregnant women for pus cell testing. A urine test can help you find out the number of epithelial cells. If there are more than 15 cells/HPF, it is a sign of infection or kidney problems.

Frequently Asked Questions

What Is The Normal Range of Epithelial Cells in Urine During Pregnancy?

Typically, women have an elevated level of epithelial cells during pregnancy. The pus cells normal range for a pregnant woman is 8 – 10 cells/ HPF. A higher level of pus cells in urine during pregnancy could indicate a urinary tract infection. This is a common complication during pregnancy because the urinary tract is subjected to many changes during this time.

What Does High Epithelial Cells in Urine Mean?

High epithelial cells are a common sign of a problem. The cells line the urinary tract and are usually eliminated in the urine. High levels of pus cells in the urine are generally considered to be a sign of urinary tract or kidney problems. While this finding can be worrying, your doctor can help you understand it better and determine the best course of action to take.

How Do You Reduce Epithelial Cells in Urine During Pregnancy?

One way to reduce them is to drink more water. This can help prevent urinary tract infections. Drinking cranberry juice can lower your risk of UTIs because it has a chemical that guards against bacteria from attaching to the bladder lining. It’s also important to wash your private parts often with soap and water. In this way, you can avoid any possible infections and lower the number of epithelial cells in your urine.

Pooja N Swamy (M.Sc Biomedical Sciences)
Pooja Holds Master's Degree in Biomedical Sciences from Vellore Institute of Technology. She believes in strong research and clear understanding over the subject. Always determined and focussed with a thirst to learn new things. Hardworking, flexible and grounded to align with the goals.


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