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Many enzymes are produced by the body to carry out a variety of biochemical reactions. One such enzyme is esterase, which are of different types. One type  of esterase is known as ‘leukocyte esterase’. White blood cells secrets this enzyme.

White blood cells protect the body but if leukocyte esterase is found in urine it means there is infection in urinary tract. Kidneys, bladder, ureters and urethra form the urinary system and when analysis of urine shows leukocytes (without nitrates) in urine it indicates infection in the system.

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To diagnose leukocytes, urinalysis has to be done in order to know the level of leukocytes esterase in urine.

The normal level is zero to ten lev/vl, but if it is more than twenty lev/vl then it means it is serious. If the level of leukocytes esterase is very high it could affect kidneys or bladder or both. The medical term for leukocyte esterase in urine is pyuria. Pyuria means urinary tract infection and it also shows that pus is present in urine. This could lead to swelling or injury in the urinary system which is because of kidney stones.

Symptoms of leukocytes esterase in urine

Some of the symptoms of leukocytes esterase in urine are as follows:

  • Strong bad odor of urine
  • Urge to urinate again and again
  • Burning sensation while urinating
  • Inflammation of kidney
  • Shivering and fever
  • Blood in urine
  • Urine appears to be cloudy or opaque
  • Bladder tumor
  • Pain while urinating
  • Systemic lupus erythematosus

Causes of leukocytes esterase in urine

There are many causes for presence of leukocytes esterase in urine. Few of them are as follows:

  • When the urinary system is blocked it could result in blood in urine. The urinary system could be blocked due to kidney or bladder stones, trauma, hypertrophy or pelvis tumor or unnecessary foreign particles in the urinary tract.
  • Infection in kidney could also raise the level of leukocytes esterase in urine. It first starts in the urinary tract and then spreads over to the kidneys.
  • When a person holds urine for a long time it could lead to excess stretching of bladder. This in turn makes the bladder weak and therefore the bladder is unable to empty itself properly. So the urine left in bladder may cause formation of bacteria resulting in bladder infection or urinary tract infection.
  • When a woman is pregnant, usually leukocytes esterase and proteins are present in urine. The level of white blood cells rises very high during the pregnancy and also protein could get contaminated from the vagina. If it continues and if the leukocyte esterase in urine is found to be very high then it is advised to take a medical expert’s help.
  • Inflammation of the urinary tract and ureters or infection in bladder could also be the cause of leukocytes esterase in urine.
  • One more reason for leukocyte esterase in urine, is sexual intercourse. During sexual intercourse the bacteria may get pressed into the urethra.

Diagnosis of leukocyte esterase in urine

To diagnose leukocyte esterase in urine a simple urinalysis has to be done. It will help to know the level of white blood cells present in urine. Later it is put under microscope for detailed verification of the earlier test.

Test for leukocyte esterase in urine

Following are the steps for conducting the test:

  • Sample of urine is taken from the patient. This sample is to be taken early morning.
  • Then the sample is screened for testing which includes urine dipstick test.
  • Then further microscopic test is done.

Thus three separate tests are taken i.e. visual, microscopic and chemical. All these tests provide accurate information about the urine and health condition. Thus leukocyte esterase can be diagnosed by:

  • Observation under the microscope or
  • Using the chemical dip stick test which shows whether leukocyte esterase is present in urine or not.

The medical expert will then decide the severity of the infection. If the level of leukocyte esterase is high then the infection is very severe and should not be taken lightly but steps to cure the infection should be taken immediately.

Leukocyte esterase in urine treatment

Leukocyte esterase in urine is treated as per the various reasons for infections. Some ways of treatment are as follows:

  • Antibiotics: When it is not very serious then the infections can be cleared by taking a course of antibiotics. But if it becomes serious then medical expert has to be consulted and in certain cases a person could also be hospitalized.
  • Hygiene: Urinary tract infections because of leukocyte esterase in urine can be found especially in women, it could be cystitis or serious infection in bladder or kidneys. Therefore proper hygiene has to be maintained along with a good and healthy diet.
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