Epithelial Cells in Urine

Epithelial cells in urine can be indication of certain underlying medical conditions. There are different types of epithelial cells that can be detected in urine. There are two possibilities in which prevalence of epithelial cell in urine can be understood; first through irregularities in color of urine and second, through urinalysis or other urine tests done for diagnosing existing conditions. Urinalysis is urine test that analyze the urine of affected individuals for different aspects. This test can impart significant information on health of the patient. While the test is chiefly conducted to detect diseases of the urinary system, it may also sometimes highlight information which may indicate prevalence of other conditions.

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Urinalysis is also sometimes suggested as a routine checkup for some patients. There are two subtypes of urinalysis which includes microscopic and macroscopic analysis which are done in most cases. Both of these can thoroughly indicate presence of epithelial cells in urine. Macroscopic analysis is focused on aspects that are visible to naked eye such as color of urine, clarity of urine, clots, cloudiness and presence of sediments. Dipstick tests can be used to determine the existence of nitrites, blood and proteins in the urine; it may also help in figuring out the pH as well as gravity. Microscopic urinalysis is evaluation of urine under microscope which is advanced technique from macroscopic. This sophisticated technique helps in determining presence of bacteria as well as other microorganisms existing in the urine.


The type and exact quantity of the cells are detected during microscopic analysis of the urine sediment examination. This is often the last process of urinalysis. To perform this step the urine specimen is transferred to the test tube which is then placed on centrifuge. The process involves spinning of this centrifuge for few minute. This will cause the sediment to settle at the base of test tube while liquid will be at the upper level. The liquid part is then removed and remaining settled sediments are then evaluated under microscope to determine the casts, crystals and bacteria present.


What are epithelial cells?

Epithelial tissues are considered to be one of the significant kinds of tissues present in human body. Skin is chiefly made up of epithelial tissues. Majority of lining of the organs and inner body cavities are made up of epithelial cells. These epithelial tissues are in turn made up of different types of epithelial cells. There are three major kinds of epithelial cells associated with urinary tract. These three types of cells include transitional epithelial cells, squamous epithelial cell, and renal tubular cells. Since, these cells form the inner lining of urinary tract it is possible for some of its amount to get exuviated in the urine. These cells are often detected during urinalysis.

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Squamous epithelial cell in urine

squamous epithelial cells in urine

This type of epithelial cell can be keratinized or non-keratinized. Non keratinized squamous cells originate from distal urethra, clitoral hood and vagina. These cells can be round and may have flatter borders. In voided urine samples these are frequent considered as contaminants. However, presence of these epithelial cells in urine in large degree may indicate anomalous genitourinary conditions.


Transitional Epithelial cells in urine

Transitional cells line the inner walls of urinary tract running from ureters to the bladder as well as the proximal urethra. This type of cells has varying size and shapes based on the location of their origination. For example cells from bladder are circular in appearance whereas cells from renal pelvis floor are caudate. Depending on the method of urine collection whether a clean-catch or improper collection, these cells are not often found in higher number in the urine sample. Transitional epithelial cells in urine have larger and irregular border.


Renal tubular cells

Renal tubular epithelial cells in urine are a rare occurrence. These are difficult to be distinguished from transitional cells. These cells are suspected to be present if higher degree of epithelial cells or uniform size and shape are detected in the urine. However they may vary in size and shape to some extent. Confirmed appearance of renal tubular cells in urine would indicate renal tube injuries.

Epithelial Cells in UrineĀ  – Normal Range

The normal values for epithelial cells in urine is 0-4 p.v.f.


Epithelial cells in urine – additional information

Most cases or epithelial cells in urine are not a matter of concern, but it is better to go for a treatment if suggested by your doctor. Diagnosing the condition properly is crucial by avoiding mistakes. Since, there are chances of that the urine sample may be contaminated it is essential to provide appropriate urine specimen. The best provided sample is a clean catch urine specimen. The urine should be the first urine of the day. Try cleaning the head of the penis and vagina and allow the urine the flow; collect the sample in midstream. This allows appropriate evaluation of the urine sample and underlying cause can be ruled out. The doctor will suggest a treatment according to the underlying cause of the irregularity.

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