PUS Cells in Stool - What is It, Normal Range & Treatment

Written by Hexahealth Care Team, last updated on 17 August 2023
PUS Cells in Stool - What is It, Normal Range & Treatment

Alterations in eating habits might result in changes in the colour, consistency, size, and frequency of stools and fecal abnormalities. The presence of pus cells in stool is an abnormality that goes away independently. But, if it persists for more than a few days, it might be caused by a problem in the digestive system.

When the pus cells in the stool's normal range exceed those in a stool analysis test, it indicates an infection or inflammation. This blog page will make you understand everything that you need to know about pus cells in stool. So read on!

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What are Pus Cells?

White blood cells (WBCs), often called pus cells or leukocytes, are a crucial part of the body's immune system. They are essential in fighting off infections and encouraging recovery. Pus cells are often present in body parts that are inflamed or infected.

When an infection occurs, the body's immune system sends white blood cells to the affected area. The enzymes and chemicals these white blood cells release, notably neutrophils, kill bacteria, viruses, and other foreign invaders. As a result, pus cells build up at the infection site.

Depending on the location and type of infection, pus may appear in various colours, including white, yellow, green, and brown. It is usually odourless; however, it occasionally has an unpleasant smell.  

Pus cells can be observed in various physiological fluids, such as stool, urine, and wound drainage. Pus-containing cells in urine often indicate a UTI or another underlying inflammatory illness affecting the urinary system. The presence of pus cells in the stool may indicate an infection or inflammation in the digestive system. 

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PUS Cells in Stool Normal Range

The presence of pus cells in stool can indicate an underlying infection or inflammation in the digestive system. When a stool test is performed, the number of pus cells is often reported as "HPF" (high-power field).
A count of 4-6 HPF is considered within the normal range. Here's what it signifies:

  1. Normal or Mild Inflammation: Pus cells in the 4 to 6 HPF range generally indicate a normal or mildly inflamed condition in the digestive tract. This count suggests a minimal presence of pus cells, which is not a cause for concern in most cases.

  2. Possible Infection or Irritation: While a count of 4 to 6 HPF is typically considered normal, it could also indicate a mild infection or irritation in the gastrointestinal tract. 

Reasons Elevated Pus Cells in Stool

Elevated pus cells in stool mean an indication of an underlying condition in the gastrointestinal tract. While the pus cells in stool's normal range are usually low, an increase in their count may be a sign of various factors. Here are some common reasons for elevated pus cells in stool:

  1. Bacterial Infections: Increased pus cells in the stool can be caused by bacterial infections. Diarrhoea, stomach pain, and fever are some of the symptoms that these illnesses might produce.

  2. Parasitic Infections: Elevated pus cells in the stool can also be a sign of parasitic illnesses like giardiasis or amoebiasis. Diarrhoea, cramps, and weight loss are among the symptoms of these illnesses that are frequently present.

  3. Inflammatory Bowel Disease (IBD): Chronic inflammation in the digestive system can be brought on by inflammatory bowel diseases including Crohn's disease and ulcerative colitis. Pus cells in the stool may increase as a result of this inflammation.

  4. Gastrointestinal Disorders: Diverticulitis, appendicitis, and colitis are a few gastrointestinal conditions that can inflame and infect the digestive tract, resulting in higher pus cells in the stool.

  5. Food Poisoning: Consuming tainted food or drink can cause infections, which then cause the level of pus cells in the faeces to rise. Common offenders include bacterial infections like Staphylococcus aureus and E. coli.

Symptoms of Pus Cells in Stool

Symptoms play a crucial role in identifying and evaluating the presence of pus cells in the stool. The symptoms are:

  1. Diarrhoea: Increased frequency of loose or watery stools.

  2. Abdominal Pain: Cramping or discomfort in the abdominal region.

  3. Fever: Elevated body temperature often accompanies infectious causes.

  4. Blood in Stool: The presence of blood in the stool may indicate an underlying condition.

  5. Bloating and Gas: Feeling of fullness or excessive gas production.

  6. Fatigue: Generalized weakness or tiredness.

Diagnosis of Pus Cells in Stool

For abnormal pus cells in stool, there is no one-size-fits-all cure. Your doctor must identify and treat the underlying issue, which may be connected to colon inflammation, to manage the excess pus formation. 

Often, a physical examination and blood test come first in medical visits, with the help of which your doctor can assess your physical well-being. Your doctor might recommend more tests if more information is required. Some of these tests include

  1. Stool Examination: A microscopic examination of stool samples helps identify pus cells and other abnormal components.

  2. Stool Culture: This test helps identify the specific bacteria or pathogens causing the infection.

  3. Blood Tests: Complete blood count (CBC) and other blood tests can help assess the overall health status and detect any underlying infections or inflammation.

  4. Imaging Test: In certain cases, imaging tests like ultrasound, CT scan, or MRI may be ordered to evaluate the gastrointestinal tract for any structural abnormalities or infections.

  5. Endoscopy: This procedure involves the insertion of a flexible tube with a camera (endoscope) into the digestive tract to visualize any abnormalities, take biopsies, or collect samples for further analysis.

Treatment of Pus Cells in Stool

The result of diagnostic testing will determine the course of treatment. Pus cells in stool treatment options also depend on the underlying cause and severity of the condition. Here are some common treatment approaches:

  1. Antibiotics: If a bacterial infection is the cause of pus cells in the stool, medicines may be administered to treat the infection.
    The particular bacteria causing the infection and its sensitivity to various drugs will determine which antibiotics should be used.

  2. Antiparasitic Medications: When parasites cause pus cells in the stool, antiparasitic drugs may be administered to eliminate the parasites and lessen the symptoms they cause.
    The particular drug will vary depending on the kind of parasite implicated.

  3. Antidiarrhoeal Medications: Antidiarrhoeal medicines may occasionally be advised to help control diarrhoea and lessen the frequency of bowel motions.
    However, because they might be inappropriate in some circumstances, these drugs are typically administered with caution and under medical supervision.

Preventive Measures and Lifestyle Changes

Preventive measures and lifestyle changes can play a significant role in reducing the risk of developing pus cells in stool and promoting overall gastrointestinal health. Here are some recommended strategies:

  1. Practice Good Hygiene: In order to stop the spread of illnesses that can result in pus cells in stool, proper hand hygiene is essential. Before and after using the lavatory, handling food, or touching potentially contaminated surfaces, thoroughly wash your hands with soap and water.

  2. Ensure Food Safety: To reduce the danger of bacterial or parasite diseases, use correct food handling and preparation techniques. This entails properly washing fruits and vegetables, cooking meats and shellfish to the proper temperatures, and steering clear of raw dairy products.

  3. Maintain a Healthy Diet: Consume a varied diet of fruits, vegetables, whole grains, and lean proteins to maintain a healthy weight. Constipation, which can lead to the growth of pus cells in stool, can be avoided by eating a diet high in fiber.

  4. Stay Hydrated: To stay well hydrated, consume enough water throughout the day. Regular bowel movements and the avoidance of constipation can both be aided by enough drinking.

  5. Avoid Contaminated Water: Watch the water you drink for contaminants. Consider consuming filtered or bottled water if you have any doubts about the safety of tap water.

  6. Manage Stress: Constant stress may harm the digestive system. Find healthy coping mechanisms for stress, such as regular exercise, relaxation exercises, and getting help from loved ones or a mental health expert.

  7. Avoid Self-Medication: If you have chronic stomach troubles, get help from a doctor. Self-medication should be avoided because it can conceal underlying issues or result in unsuitable therapy.

When to Seek Medical Attention for PUS Cells in Stool?

If you notice pus cells in your stool, it is advisable to seek medical attention, especially if you experience persistent or concerning symptoms. Here are some situations in which you should consider seeking medical attention:

  1. Severe symptoms such as severe abdominal pain, high fever, vomiting, or signs of dehydration

  2. Recurring episodes of pus cells in stool or history of gastrointestinal issues.

  3. Presence of blood in stool

  4. Suspect bacterial or parasitic infection


To sum up, the presence of pus cells in stool can be an indication of a variety of underlying illnesses, from simple infections to more severe gastrointestinal disorders. Pus cell counts might vary slightly, which is common, but persistent or high levels may require medical care. If you encounter prolonged symptoms, excruciating abdominal pain, blood in the stool, or recurrent occurrences of pus cells in the stool, it's crucial to speak with a medical practitioner.

To address the underlying reason and guarantee ideal gastrointestinal health, prompt evaluation, diagnosis, and suitable treatment are essential.

So, if you are suffering from this condition and looking for an effective treatment, then consulting with the experts at HexaHealth can help. The executives here will guide you to find the right course of treatment and get you in touch with the doctor who can help you find a remedy.

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Frequently Asked Questions

What are pus cells in stool?

When neutrophils fight out bacterial/fungal infections, some of them, along with surrounding tissues, die. And an accumulation of this decomposing matter is pus. Notably,  pus cells in baby stool and adults are a sign of infection. 

What is the normal range of pus cells in stool?

Medical samples generally assess specific cells' high and/or low power. And, pus cells are read on high power. So, the pus cells in stool's normal range are 2-3 cells per high power field. Also, a comparatively large number would be 10-20 and a small number would be 0-1.

What does 4-6 HPF mean in pus cells in stool?

4-6 HPF (High Power Field) refers to the range of pus cells observed under a microscope in the stool sample. It indicates a mild to moderate presence of pus cells, which may suggest an underlying infection or inflammation in the gastrointestinal tract.

What causes an increase in pus cells in stool?

Pus cells in the stool may indicate an infection and/or inflammation. Food poisoning, constipation, or some drugs can also cause irregular stools with pus.

Is treatment necessary for high levels of pus cells in stool?

Yes, treatment is necessary in case of a high level of pus cells in stool. They indicate an infection, inflammation, or problems with the anus or rectum. Also, certain medications can cause pus in stools.

What are the symptoms of high levels of pus cells in stool?

Pus is a viscous fluid comprising germs and dead tissues. As your body is battling an illness, especially one brought on by bacteria, it frequently generates pus. The symptoms of high levels of pus in stool are as follows:

  1. Increased mucus formation

  2. Faeces with blood or pus in it

  3. Stomach cramps, bloating, or discomfort

  4. Abrupt changes in bowel frequency, consistency, or colour

How are pus cells in stool tests performed?

A stool test includes a microscopy examination, chemical testing, and microbiologic testing. Also, the colour, consistency, shape, odour, and mucus content are all examined in faeces. For the stool test, a stool sample is taken for a stool analysis and given to the lab in a clean container. 

How long does it take to get the results of the pus cells in stool test?

To determine an illness or a condition you may be experiencing, various gastrointestinal problems may require a stool test. It usually takes 1 to 3 days to get the results of the stool analysis test.

Can pus cells in stool indicate a severe condition?

Normally, pus develops in an abscess, which is a void left behind after tissues have broken down. Abscesses can form inside your body or on the surface of your skin. And, in faeces, pus indicates infection. Inflammation, malignancy, constipation, or ailments of the anus or rectum can also be the causes of pus cells in stool.

What are the treatment options for high levels of pus cells in stool?

The treatment options for high levels of pus cells in stool depend on the underlying cause. Antibiotics may be prescribed for bacterial infections, antiparasitic medications for parasitic infections, and anti-inflammatory drugs for inflammatory conditions. It is important to consult a healthcare professional for proper diagnosis and treatment.


All the articles on HexaHealth are supported by verified medically-recognized sources such as; peer-reviewed academic research papers, research institutions, and medical journals. Our medical reviewers also check references of the articles to prioritize accuracy and relevance. Refer to our detailed editorial policy for more information.

  1. White Blood Cell (WBC) in Stool: MedlinePlus Lab Test Information [Internet]. Medlineplus.gov. 2018.link
  2. Mucus in Your Poop: What It Can Mean [Internet]. WebMD.link
  3. White Blood Cell (Stool) - Health Encyclopedia - University of Rochester Medical Center [Internet]. www.urmc.rochester.edu.link
  4. Pus: Causes, Locations, Symptoms, Treatment, and Prevention [Internet]. Healthline. 2018.link
  5. Stool Culture | Definition and Patient Education [Internet]. Healthline. 2017.link

Updated on : 17 August 2023


About Authors

HexaHealth Care Team

HexaHealth Care Team brings you medical content covering many important conditions, procedures falling under different medical specialities. The content published is thoroughly reviewed by our panel of qualified doctors for its accuracy and relevance.

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