We are independent & ad-supported. We may earn a commission for purchases made through our links.

Advertiser Disclosure

Our website is an independent, advertising-supported platform. We provide our content free of charge to our readers, and to keep it that way, we rely on revenue generated through advertisements and affiliate partnerships. This means that when you click on certain links on our site and make a purchase, we may earn a commission. Learn more.

How We Make Money

We sustain our operations through affiliate commissions and advertising. If you click on an affiliate link and make a purchase, we may receive a commission from the merchant at no additional cost to you. We also display advertisements on our website, which help generate revenue to support our work and keep our content free for readers. Our editorial team operates independently from our advertising and affiliate partnerships to ensure that our content remains unbiased and focused on providing you with the best information and recommendations based on thorough research and honest evaluations. To remain transparent, we’ve provided a list of our current affiliate partners here.

What is the Significance of Increased Epithelial Cells in Urine?

Mary McMahon
Updated Jan 29, 2024
Our promise to you
WiseGeek is dedicated to creating trustworthy, high-quality content that always prioritizes transparency, integrity, and inclusivity above all else. Our ensure that our content creation and review process includes rigorous fact-checking, evidence-based, and continual updates to ensure accuracy and reliability.

Our Promise to you

Founded in 2002, our company has been a trusted resource for readers seeking informative and engaging content. Our dedication to quality remains unwavering—and will never change. We follow a strict editorial policy, ensuring that our content is authored by highly qualified professionals and edited by subject matter experts. This guarantees that everything we publish is objective, accurate, and trustworthy.

Over the years, we've refined our approach to cover a wide range of topics, providing readers with reliable and practical advice to enhance their knowledge and skills. That's why millions of readers turn to us each year. Join us in celebrating the joy of learning, guided by standards you can trust.

Editorial Standards

At WiseGeek, we are committed to creating content that you can trust. Our editorial process is designed to ensure that every piece of content we publish is accurate, reliable, and informative.

Our team of experienced writers and editors follows a strict set of guidelines to ensure the highest quality content. We conduct thorough research, fact-check all information, and rely on credible sources to back up our claims. Our content is reviewed by subject matter experts to ensure accuracy and clarity.

We believe in transparency and maintain editorial independence from our advertisers. Our team does not receive direct compensation from advertisers, allowing us to create unbiased content that prioritizes your interests.

Epithelial cells in urine can provide some information of diagnostic use, depending on the type of cells involved and the numbers present in the sample of urine. Usually, the information is most useful when paired with other findings from a urinalysis, along with the patient's report of symptoms. A typical urinalysis report will note if epithelial cells were found in the sample and will provide information about the type and numbers.

Epithelial cells are cells from the epithelium, the lining that covers the inside and outside of the body. They slough off routinely as new cells develop and old, dead ones flake away. Different areas of the body have distinct epithelial cells. Pathologists can see squamous, renal, and transitional epithelial cells in urine when they spin the urine to separate out the sediment.

Squamous epithelial cells are found along the genitals and on the outside of the body. Some usually show up in a urine sample because they are carried away by the stream of urine. Large numbers can be suggestive of contamination. The patient may not have carefully wiped before collecting a sample, allowing material from the outside of the body to enter the cup along with the urine sample.

Transitional epithelial cells in urine are also common. These cells line the urethra and bladder. In a person with an active inflammation, more cells may be shed as a result of irritation. Likewise, injuries can cause an increase in transitional epithelial cells. Paired with findings like blood in the urine and bacteria, they can be a sign of an infection.

Renal tubular epithelial cells are not a good sign. While a few may slip through, if they are present in large numbers, it is indicative of a problem with the kidneys. Other findings from the urinalysis can provide more information about what is happening in the kidneys and a doctor may also request a blood test to get an idea of how efficiently the kidneys are functioning.

If testing shows epithelial cells in urine, it is important to find out what kinds of cells are involved and in what concentrations. Minor numbers of epithelial cells in urine are generally not a cause for concern. If the numbers of squamous cells are high, a new urine sample may need to be taken to get a cleaner collection of urine for testing. Increased numbers of renal tubular cells call for additional testing to find out more about what is happening inside the patient.

WiseGeek is dedicated to providing accurate and trustworthy information. We carefully select reputable sources and employ a rigorous fact-checking process to maintain the highest standards. To learn more about our commitment to accuracy, read our editorial process.
Mary McMahon
By Mary McMahon

Ever since she began contributing to the site several years ago, Mary has embraced the exciting challenge of being a WiseGeek researcher and writer. Mary has a liberal arts degree from Goddard College and spends her free time reading, cooking, and exploring the great outdoors.

Discussion Comments

By anon989327 — On Mar 02, 2015

My urine test indicated epethelial cell 8-10 and puss cell 0-3. What does it mean?

By Ishaque — On Apr 28, 2014

I had a m/c/s test recently but there was epithelial cells present about 0.4 percent, and I was given the antibiotic Augumentin. Does that mean there is a serious problem or what does that means?

By anon928980 — On Jan 30, 2014

There are three kinds of epithelial cells found in urine: Squamous, Transitional, and Renal Tubular. The largest, Squamous epithelial cells, are by far the most common and usually represent nothing more than a contaminated urine specimen (not a clean catch). Transitional epithelial cells, if present in large numbers, could indicate some disease process going on. Renal tubular epithelial cells can be found (rarely) in normal urine in small numbers, but if found in large numbers, they almost certainly indicate a serious kidney problem.

By anon348729 — On Sep 19, 2013

I am pregnant, and I feel feverish, especially during night, and my urine is containing more epithelial cells. I just want to know what is the reason behind it?

By anon336716 — On May 31, 2013

My urine test report pus cells 1-2/hpf; epi cells-occ/hpf.

By stoneMason — On Dec 23, 2012

@fBoyle-- Yes, you can. They will be the tiny clear colored substances floating on the urine. They will not sink to the bottom.

When it comes to the amount of epithelial cells in urine, I think the time of the urine test is also important. If the urine test is done in the morning with the first urine of the day, there are bound to be more epithelial cells. This is because the urine has been collecting for many hours during the night.

By fBoyle — On Dec 23, 2012

Can I see epithelial cells in urine with a naked eye?

By donasmrs — On Dec 22, 2012
I had a urine test recently due to pain in my lower back. My urine test showed epithelial cells as well as sediment.

I was freaking out about it until I spoke to my doctor. He said that it's normal to have epithelial cells in a urine test because they're constantly being renewed and the old cells end up in the urine.

My pain was apparently due to kidney sand. That's what the sediment was. He just told me to drink a lot of water and that the sediment would clear up on its own.

Mary McMahon

Mary McMahon

Ever since she began contributing to the site several years ago, Mary has embraced the exciting challenge of being a...

Learn more
WiseGeek, in your inbox

Our latest articles, guides, and more, delivered daily.

WiseGeek, in your inbox

Our latest articles, guides, and more, delivered daily.