Pyuria is a condition in which excess white blood cells, or pus, are present in the urine. Urine will appear cloudy and can also be a sign for a urinary tract infection (UTI). Pyuria can also be an indication of a sepsis infection or pneumonia in older adults.
Some people may experience sterile pyuria in which white blood cells are present in the urine, but there are no bacteria or microorganisms. Sterile pyuria is often caused by a sexually transmitted disease or medications.
Common causes include sexually transmitted diseases, viral infections, bacteria, fungal infections, prostate infections, medications, parasites, kidney stones, tumors and cysts, and interstitial cystitis.
Symptoms accompanying pyuria depend on the underlying cause of the condition. For example, if a UTI causes pyuria, you may also experience a burning sensation when urinating, pain, and increased frequency of your bathroom trips. General symptoms of pyuria include cloudy urine, foul smell, increased urination frequency, discomfort when urinating, and in some cases, fever.
Urinary tract infections and pyuria often go hand in hand, because it is caused by bacteria in the urinary tract that also lead to UTIs.
Pyuria diagnosis involves uncovering the underlying cause of the condition. This is commonly done through a urinalysis, or a urine sample. Diagnosis is confirmed if there are more than six neutrophilic white blood cells per high power of unspun, mid-stream urine.
Other diagnostic tests may include MRI, CT scan, ultrasound, and intravenous pyelogram.
Treatment is also targeted to address the underlying cause of pyuria. If a person is asymptomatic or if no infection was found, then treatment will not be administered. Pyuria is commonly treated with antibiotics, but your doctor will ultimately decide on the most suitable mode of treatment based on your diagnostic results.