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What does positive leukocytes mean?

Updated November 21, 2016

Leukocytes are a type of white blood cell. When urine is positive for leukocytes, there are leukocytes in the urine. White blood cells in urine are typically a sign of infection. A urinalysis positive for leukoctyes is most commonly the result of a urinary tract infection. However, leukocytes in urine can also be a sign of other infectiona such as kidney infection, cystitis or urethritis.

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Leukocytes are white blood cells, the body's defence mechanism against invaders such as infection and disease. When foreign materials enter the body, white blood cells attack it by destroying infectious agents or producing antibodies. When there is an infection in the body, these white cells appear in higher concentration in the urine.


Lymphocytes are divided into B lymphocytes and T cells, classified exclusively by their function. B lymphocytes secrete antibodies, proteins that attach to foreign microorganisms in body tissues in order to destroy them. T cells, on the other hand, destroy virally-infected or cancerous cells. T cells also assist the production of antibodies by B cells.

Urinary Tract Infections

A urinary tract infection (UTI) refers to a bacteria infection somewhere in the urinary tract. Individuals who have leukocytes in their urine typically are diagnosed with a urinary tract infection. Symptoms for a urinary tract infection include painful and frequent urination.


The normal leukocytes range in urine is 0 - 10 leu/ul. A urinalysis or at home dipstick test can determine whether or not urine is positive for leukocytes. If there is more than 20 leu/ul concentration of leukocytes in the urine, the test will render a positive result.


Treatment for positive leukocytes includes treating the underlying infection with antibacterial medication such as Trimpex, Polycillin, Floxin, Noroxin, Cipro orTrovan. Typically the infection clears up in one to two days after starting the medicine regimen. Additional medication may be prescribed for pain associated with urinary tract infections.

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About the Author

Lindsay Nixon has been writing since 2007. Her work has appeared in "Vegetarian Times," "Women's Health Magazine" and online for The Huffington Post. She is also a published author, lawyer and certified personal trainer. Nixon has two Bachelors of Arts in classics and communications from the College of Charleston and a Juris Doctor from the New England School of Law.

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