Pus Cells in Urine: Normal Range, Causes, Test & Treatment

Medically Reviewed by Dr. Aman Priya Khanna
Written by Rajath R Prabhu, last updated on 15 December 2023| min read
Pus Cells in Urine: Normal Range, Causes, Test & Treatment

Quick Summary

  • Pus cells in urine is a medical condition that indicates a high number of white blood cells in the urine
  • This condition can be a sign of severe underlying disease
  • Symptoms of high urine pus cells include frequent urination, painful urination, cloudy urine, or lower abdominal pain

Pus cells in urine is a medical condition that indicates a high number of white blood cells in the urine. This condition is also known as pyuria. This condition can be a sign of severe underlying disease. Hence, an individual must not overlook the illness and get the right treatment on time. 

If you are experiencing symptoms such as frequent urination, painful urination, cloudy urine, or lower abdominal pain, it is important to consult a healthcare professional as it can be a sign of high urine pus cells.

This article will discuss about pus cells in urine normal range, its prevention, treatment, complications, and much more.

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What are Pus Cells in Urine or Pyuria?

Pus cells in urine, or Pyuria, is a common urinary problem worldwide. This condition is characterised by elevated levels of white blood cells (leukocytes) in urine.

Generally, pus in urine is a thick and colourless fluid. It comprises bacteria, white blood cells, dead cells, and tissues.

Scientific evidence has shown that women (13.9%) are more likely to get affected by pyuria than men (2.6%) as they are prone to urinary tract infections (UTIs)

Types of Pus Cells in Urine 

Based on the detection of bacteria during diagnosis, pus cells in urine have been broadly classified into two categories:

  1. Sterile Pyuria is a class of pyuria in which the patient carries no detectable bacteria in the urine. It can occur due to a virus, undetected bacteria, or even due to a side-effect of medications. 

  2. Non-Sterile Pyuria is a type of pyuria where bacteria are present in the urine. This can indicate an infection in the urinary tract or other underlying conditions such as kidney stones or bladder inflammation.

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Causes of Pus Cells in Urine

Several components contribute to pyuria. Nevertheless, the most common reason for the occurrence of pyuria is UTIs. Apart from UTIs, other major causes of pus cells in urine include.

  1. Pneumonia (a respiratory infection that affects the lungs)

  2. Sepsis (a potentially life-threatening condition that occurs when the body's response to infection causes damage to its own tissues and organs)

  3. Interstitial cystitis (a chronic condition causing severe bladder pain)

  4. Kidney stones

  5. Rejection in organ transplant

  6. STDs, such as Gonorrhea, HIV, Syphilis, HPV

  7. Tuberculosis (TB)

  8. Transvaginal surgical mesh

Certain medications can also surpass pus cells in urine normal range if used for a long time. A few such medications are as follows:

  1. Diuretics (medications that help reduce fluid buildup in the body)

  2. Proton pump inhibitors (medications that help reduce the production of stomach acid)

  3. Antibiotics containing sulfa or penicillin

  4. Nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drugs (NSAIDs), including ibuprofen, aspirin, and naproxen sodium.

Symptoms of Pus Cells in Urine

The most prevailing symptom of pyuria is the presence of pus, a thick, discoloured fluid. Moreover, urine can also appear cloudy when one has this condition. If there’s a UTI involved with urine pus cells, the patient can show several other symptoms, including: 

  1. Frequent urges to urinate

  2. A burning sensation when urinating

  3. Blood in the urine

  4. Foul-smelling urine

  5. Pelvic pain

  6. Fever

  7. Pressure in the lower pelvis

  8. Leakage (urinary incontinence)

  9. Nausea and Vomit

Diagnosis of Pyuria

To diagnose pyuria, a urine test (urine analysis or urinalysis) is recommended by the treating doctor. This test is a routine test that doctors often use to check for various conditions. The following are the steps involved in urinalysis:

  1. Collection of Urine Sample: The first step is to collect a urine sample. A clean-catch midstream urine sample is usually collected, which involves collecting the middle portion of the pee after cleaning the genital area with an antiseptic solution.

  2. Microscopic Examination: The sample is then examined under a microscope to check for the presence of pus cells. In a normal sample, there are usually no or very few pus cells present. However, in the case of an infection or inflammation, there would be high number of pus cells.

  3. Quantification of Pus Cells: The number of pus cells in the urine sample is counted and reported as the number of cells per high-power field (HPF) of the microscope.

  4. Culture and Sensitivity Testing: If the urinalysis shows a high number of cells, a culture and sensitivity test may be performed. This test helps to identify the specific bacteria causing the infection and to determine the most effective antibiotic to treat it.

Pus Cells in Urine Normal Range

The normal range for pus cells in urine varies depending on the laboratory and the method used for analysis. However, in general, urine pus cells normal range for adults is considered to be less than five pus cells per high-power field (HPF) of the microscope. However, some people may have more than ten pus cells without any trace of infection.

Prevention of Pyuria

Pyuria often indicates an underlying medical condition, such as UTI. Here are some steps that can help an individual to prevent the occurrence of pyuria:

  1. Maintain Good Hygiene: Practising good personal hygiene can help prevent the spread of bacteria that cause UTIs.

  2. Stay Hydrated: Drinking plenty of water can help flush out bacteria from the urinary tract and prevent UTIs.

  3. Urinate Regularly: Urinating regularly helps to flush out any bacteria that may have entered the urinary tract. Holding in urine for long periods of time can increase the risk of infection and the presence of pus cells in urine.

  4. Practice Safe Intercourse: Using condoms during sexual intercourse can help prevent the transmission of bacteria that can cause UTIs. Additionally, urinating before and after sexual activity helps flush out any bacteria from the urinary tract.

  5. Wipe from Front to Back: After using the bathroom, always wipe from front to back to prevent bacteria from the anus entering the urinary tract.

  6. Wear Loose-fitting Clothes: Tight clothes, especially in the groin area, can trap moisture and increase the risk of bacterial growth.

  7. Avoid Irritants: Certain personal care products such as douches, powders, and soaps can irritate the urinary tract and increase the risk of UTIs.

Treatment of Pyuria

Pus cells in urine treatment depend on the underlying cause of the condition. If a bacterial infection is the cause, antibiotics are usually prescribed to eliminate the bacteria. The antibiotic prescribed will depend on the type of bacteria causing the infection.

In addition to antibiotics, drinking plenty of water and fluids (cranberry juice) can help flush out the bacteria from the urinary system. Pain relievers may also be prescribed to manage any discomfort or pain associated with the condition.

If there is an underlying medical condition causing pyuria, such as kidney stones or bladder inflammation, treating the underlying condition is necessary to resolve the issue. In some cases, surgery may be required to treat certain conditions.

Complications of Pyuria

In most cases, pyuria is not a matter of concern. However, it may prove to be fatal in certain cases. Below are a few serious complications of pyuria:

  1. Kidney Damage: If left untreated, a UTI can spread to the kidneys, causing inflammation and potential damage. This can lead to chronic kidney diseasekidney failure, or other serious complications.

  2. Sepsis: In some cases, a UTI can lead to sepsis, which is a life-threatening condition caused by the body's response to infection. Sepsis can cause organ failure, shock, and death.

  3. Recurrent Infections: If a UTI is not treated properly, it can lead to recurrent infections, which can be difficult to treat and may require long-term antibiotic use.

  4. Pregnancy Complications: Pregnant women with UTIs are at increased risk of premature delivery, low birth weight, and other complications.

  5. Prostatitis: Men with UTIs may develop prostatitis, which is inflammation of the prostate gland. This can cause pain, discomfort, and potential complications such as infertility.

Pus Cells in Urine during Pregnancy

Pyuria during pregnancy can be a cause for concern. While it is normal to have some level of bacteria in the urinary tract during pregnancy, an increase in pus cells may indicate the presence of a UTI.

UTIs are more common in pregnant women due to hormonal changes (progesterone hormone) and pressure on the bladder. If left untreated, UTIs during pregnancy can lead to complications such as premature delivery, low birth weight, and even kidney infections.

Pregnant women need to seek medical attention if they notice any symptoms of a UTI, including frequent urination, pain or burning during urination, cloudy or foul-smelling urine, or lower abdominal pain.

A urinalysis will be conducted to check for pyuria if a urinary tract infection is suspected. If the test results show an elevated level of pus cells, further testing may be done to determine the specific bacteria causing the infection and its susceptibility to antibiotics.

When to Consult a Doctor?

It is recommended to consult a doctor for pus cells in urine if an individual has:

  1. Persistent UTI symptoms, including painful urination, frequent urination, and foul-smelling urine.

  2. Blood in the urine, or the urine appears cloudy or dark.

  3. Fever, chills, or abdominal pain.

  4. A history of kidney or urinary tract infections.

  5. An underlying medical condition such as diabetes or a weakened immune system.


Pus cells in urine is a medical disorder which causes increased levels of white blood cells in the urine. This condition, also known as pyuria, is often a sign of an underlying urinary tract infection (UTI). While it is normal to have some bacteria in the urinary tract, increasing pus cells can indicate an infection that needs prompt attention.

Talk to your healthcare provider today if you or your loved ones have pus cells in urine or feel its symptoms. You can contact us at HexaHealth. We have a brilliant team of expert doctors who can help you treat pyuria effectively. If you’re new to HexaHealth, you’ll be happy to know that our first consultation call is FREE of cost. Wait no more. Register now.

Suggested Reads

To read more on changes in urine, visit the following links:

  1. Bilirubin in Urine - Normal Range, Causes, Color, Symptoms

  2. RBC in Urine Test - Meaning, Normal Range, Purpose, Results

  3. Epithelial Cells in Urine: Normal Range, Causes, Test Results

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Frequently Asked Questions

Pus cells in urine basically refer to leukocytes (WBCs) in your pee. It may also contain dead tissue and bacteria. The pus appears as thick and discoloured fluid. They’re usually caused by urinary tract infections (UTIs).

According to the American Association for Clinical Chemistry, the normal range for the number of urine pus cells is 0-5 cells per high power field (HPF) or 0-10 cells per microliter (µL) of urine. However, the normal range may vary depending on factors including the patients age, gender, the laboratory where the test is being performed and testing method used.

The most common cause of pus cells in urine is urinary tract infections (UTIs). However, many other factors also cause pyuria, some of these include sepsis, cystitis, and certain medications.

Following are the symptoms of increased pus cells in urine:

  1. Thick pus

  2. Cloudy urine

  3. Urinary tract infections (UTIs)

  4. Frequent urges to urinate

  5. A burning sensation when urinating

  6. Blood in the urine (pee)

  7. Foul-smelling pee

  8. Pelvic pain

  9. Fever

  10. Pressure in the lower pelvis

  11. Leakage (Incontinence)

  12. Nausea and Vomiting

The presence of pyuria or pus cells in urine is tested with the help of a urine test called a urinalysis.

  1. In urinalysis, you must collect a pee sample in a small container. 

  2. The healthcare provider provides the container. 

  3. After collecting the pee, the sample container is sent to the laboratory for testing. 

  4. The lab technician studies the sample and detects if you have pus cells in the urine.

While a urine test can detect increased pus cells in the urine, additional testing may be needed to determine the specific cause and guide appropriate treatment. It's important to consult with a healthcare professional for proper diagnosis and management of any urinary tract symptoms or abnormalities.

You should follow the points stated below to reduce pyuria:

  1. Talk to your doctor: They’ll prescribe you an antibiotic course or other medications. Remember, completing your medication course is necessary to cure pyuria and prevent further worsening.

  2. Maintain strict hygiene: Wash your private parts when visiting the washroom. Make sure you dry them with a clean cloth. 

  3. Drink plenty of water

Pyuria can be an indication of a severe illness. Therefore, you must talk to your doctor and get the right treatment within the timeframe.

However, you can help treat pyuria with home remedies like drinking green tea and cranberry juice, applying a wet warm compress, and staying hydrated. But it should not stop you from visiting your healthcare provider.

The time it takes for pyuria to resolve with treatment varies depending on the underlying cause, severity of the infection, and the individual's health. In cases of a bacterial UTI, symptoms may begin to improve within a few days of antibiotic treatment, but complete resolution can take up to 7-10 days.

For other conditions such as interstitial cystitis, symptoms may take longer to improve. Completing the full course of treatment prescribed by a healthcare professional is essential to ensure the infection is completely resolved and prevent a recurrence.

Generally, pyuria or pus cells in urine do not cause any complications. But severe cases could lead one to: 

  1. Organ failure

  2. Blood poisoning (septicemia)

  3. Kidney damage

  4. In rare cases, pyuria could also lead to death.

Lifestyle changes that could help you manage increased pus cells in urine are as follows:

  1. Drink plenty of water

  2. Avoid holding pee

  3. Wear loose clothing 

  4. Wipe/ wash private parts after using the washroom

  5. Avoid using scented pads, panties, and powders

  6. Eat cranberry, vitamin C-rich foods, onion, yoghurt, and basil

Medication plays a crucial role in treating pyuria, which is an increase in pus cells in urine. Depending on the underlying cause, your healthcare provider may prescribe antibiotics to target and eliminate the infection. Anti-inflammatory medications may also be prescribed to reduce inflammation and alleviate symptoms. 

Yes, pyuria can sometimes be a symptom of a more serious underlying condition. While this condition is commonly caused by UTIs or bladder inflammation, it can also indicate other issues, such as kidney stones, sexually transmitted infections, or cancer.

It is important to consult a healthcare professional to determine the underlying cause and receive appropriate treatment. Ignoring persistent pyuria can lead to complications and delay in addressing potentially serious health conditions.

Yes, pyuria, which is the presence of increased pus cells in urine, can potentially lead to kidney damage if left untreated. The inflammation caused by the infection can affect the kidneys and impair their function. It is important to seek medical attention if you experience pyuria to prevent any complications.

In general, it's essential to follow up with a healthcare professional regularly to monitor the resolution of the condition and to address any ongoing symptoms or concerns. The specific frequency of monitoring will depend on the individual's specific situation and should be discussed with a healthcare professional.


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. Al-Badr A, Al-Shaikh G. Recurrent Urinary Tract Infections Management in Women. Sultan Qaboos University Medical Journal [Internet]. 2013 Aug 1;13(3):359–67. link
  2. World Health Organization. Sepsis [Internet]. Who.int. World Health Organization: WHO; 2020. link
  3. NHS Choices. How should I collect and store a pee (urine) sample? [Internet]. NHS. 2019.link
  4. Avorn J. Reduction of Bacteriuria and Pyuria After Ingestion of Cranberry Juice. JAMA: The Journal of the American Medical Association. 1994 Mar 9;271(10):751.link
  5. Pyuria: Causes, Symptoms, Management & Treatment [Internet]. Cleveland Clinic. [cited 2023 Aug 26]. link

Updated on : 15 December 2023

Disclaimer: The information provided here is for educational and learning purposes only. It doesn't cover every medical condition and might not be relevant to your personal situation. This information isn't medical advice, isn't meant for diagnosing any condition, and shouldn't replace talking to a certified medical or healthcare professional.


Dr. Aman Priya Khanna

Dr. Aman Priya Khanna

MBBS, DNB General Surgery, Fellowship in Minimal Access Surgery, FIAGES

12 Years Experience

Dr Aman Priya Khanna is a well-known General Surgeon, Proctologist and Bariatric Surgeon currently associated with HealthFort Clinic, Health First Multispecialty Clinic in Delhi. He has 12 years of experience in General Surgery and worke...View More


Rajath R Prabhu

Rajath R Prabhu

MSc. Clinical Research I PG Diploma in Public Health Services Management

3 Years Experience

His work in medical content writing and proofreading is noteworthy. He has also contributed immensely to public health research and has authored four scientific manuscripts in international journals. He was assoc...View More

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