Squamous epithelial cells in urine

Squamous cells in urine are considered as a common occurrence and may not be a matter of concern in most cases.   These are also referred to as squamous epithelial cells. There are in fact three kinds of epithelial cells that form the urinary tract lining. Apart from the latter, the other two types of cells include transitional epithelial and renal tubular cells. These cells are among the types of epithelial tissues. Generally the epithelial tissues serve as lining for cavities, glands and others structures in the human body.

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Squamous cells in urine are flat skin cells which appear to have irregular or angular outline. These cells contain tiny, thin nuclei along with granular cytoplasm. As compared to its counterparts, they seem to be bigger in size. These cells serve as inner lining for urinary tract and may get accumulated along the penile or vaginal skin. Hence, when you pass urine these cells that are deposited along the skin also enter the streams and flow along. These cells often do not get properly washed away. They may possibly get converted into planar form and may show sign of contamination of urine. This is why it is always suggested that while providing a specimen for urine test, the first urine in the morning should be collected.

While collecting sample from the very first urination of the day, it is crucial to ensure that you allow some urine to pass away and collect sample in mid-stream. Also ensure that the container which you choose to collect the specimen is sterile. Urinalysis is the primary test which helps in getting urine infection results. If a person is detected with insignificant amount of squamous cells in urine then he should not be concerned. These are normal and epithelial cells are detected as they were present along the penile or vaginal wall and were washed along with urine.


If there is columnar squamous cells in urine, detected through urinalysis may probably indicate infection of kidney. These cells occurring in the urine are also caused due to UTI or Urinary tract infection. Internal infections may also cause the urine to appear tarnished. However in majority of cases contamination of urine is caused due to inappropriate collection of urine specimen for urinalysis.

Types of Squamous cells that can appear in urine

Squamous cells can be categorized in two types, namely, Keratinized and non-keratinized cells. These two types of squamous cells have distinct traits which can be used to distinguish between them.

Keratinized Squamous cells

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  • These cells are formed in skin or lining of vulva
  • These cells may be with nuclei
  • Keratinized cells appear larger and have angular silhouette

Non-keratinized Squamous cells

  • Non keratinized cells are form in farthest region of vagina or urethra
  • As compared to transitional cells these cells appear larger and may contain nuclei
  • These cells have one or more than one flat border
  • Non keratinized cells can be of any shape; however, they are often round

Squamous Cells in urine – test

Urinalysis is a common test suggested for squamous cells in urine detection. Centrifugation is a significant part of urinalysis. In the process of centrifugation a small amount of urine sample is kept in the centrifugation device for processing. On completion of the process the sample is evaluated to detect sediments if present. These sediments are checked using microscope therefore presence of squamous cells can be determined. If these cells are present in large degree in the urine then the occurrence may be due to contamination of the sample. In such a case the pathologist may request another fresh sample to confirm the presence of these cells.

If squamous cells in urine are in abundance in the freshly re-provided sample as well, then it may be due to Urinary Tract Infection. Renal tubular epithelial cells if detected in urine may indicate possibilities of underlying inflammation of kidney. This is because these renal cells are formed in the kidney itself.

It is beneficial to undergo urinalysis at least once every year. The cost of this test is anyway between $30 and $ 70, and the cost may vary from lab to lab. This test is considered as an important evaluation as it provides significant information on functioning of human organs and glands.

Preventing squamous cells in urine

Presence of these cells in urine is often detected during urine test, perhaps performed for some other condition. Since, squamous cells in urine mostly appear due to contamination it is wise to determine how to prevent the specimen from getting contaminated. It is better to wash away the penile head and as much part of the penis as possible using water. Allow some urine to flow away for few seconds and then collect sample in the mid of urination. It is said that midstream urine sample is always good for urinalysis. For this test, best sample is from first urination of the day. Re-consult if your test results has considerable amount of squamous epithelial cells in urine for the second time as well.

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