White & red blood cells in the urine

Updated November 21, 2016

Doctors typically check a patient's urine, even during a routine check-up. A urine test provides results which lets a doctor know that the kidneys are healthy and to make sure there is no sign of infection. Urine carries with it several kinds of waste from the body, depending on what a person eats or drinks, how physically active they are, even whether or not they are pregnant. Abnormal results may show white or red blood cells in the urine.


If leukocytes, also known as white blood cells, are present in the urine it typically means that the patient has a urinary tract infection or a kidney infection. According to CIGNA, it is not normal for blood cells to be present in the urine.

The appearance of red blood cells in the urine is known as hematuria. According to the National Kidney and Urological Diseases Information Clearinghouse, causes of hematuria can be the result of something as simple as strenuous exercise or something as serious as a tumour. Usually the presence of blood cells in the urine is not caused by something serious.


In order to make sure that nothing affects the results of a urinalysis, it is best to avoid foods that may change the colour of the urine. According to CIGNA, things to avoid include certain berries, such as blackberries, and strenuous exercising. Anyone taking prescription medications that affect the urine should ask their doctor prior to the appointment whether or not they need to stop taking it.


A woman going through her menstrual cycle can have traces of red blood cells in the urine. It is best to make the doctor aware, prior to the urine test, that she is menstruating so there is no cause for concern if the presence of red blood cells is found. The presence of blood cells, whether white or red, in the urine should not be a cause for panic. In most cases, the doctor can prescribe a medication that can clear up the urine within a few days.


Urine may be analysed different ways. Doctors can quickly take a dipstick and dip it in the cup of urine in order to interpret the content of the urine or do a microscopic urinalysis which allows them to view the urine under a microscope. The good thing about a dipstick is that the results are quick. However, the results are limited while a microscopic urinalysis provides a more in-depth view of the presence of white or red blood cells.


Pain in the kidney area may be a sign of a kidney infection. The presence of pain or burning during urination could be a sign of a urinary tract infection. In either case, a person should not simply assume that is what the problem is. Seek the advice of a doctor if symptoms of a kidney or urinary infection arise. A doctor will test the urine to find out what the exact cause of the symptoms are.

Cite this Article A tool to create a citation to reference this article Cite this Article

About the Author