What is Leukocyte Esterase, Urine?

Leukocyte esterase is a urine test to look for white blood cells and other signs of infection. Leukocytes, also known as white blood cells, are a central part of the immune system. They help to protect the body against foreign substances, microbes, and infectious diseases. Leukocytes travel throughout the body, moving between the organs and nodes and monitoring any potentially problematic germs or infections. Only very low levels of leukocytes, if any, are normally found in the urine. A high leukocyte content in the urine may indicate an infection or other underlying inflammatory medical problems.

Normal Results:
A negative test result is normal.

Abnormal Results Mean:
Leukocytes might be present in urine for a range of reasons, such as:

  • Bladder infections
  • Kidney stones
  • Kidney infection
  • Urinary system blockage
  • Holding in urine

Some other possible causes:

  • some cancers, such as prostate, bladder, or kidney cancer
  • blood diseases such as sickle cell anemia
  • some pain relieving medicines
  • interstitial cystitis

The following may turn the test abnormal even when you do not have a urinary infection:

  • Trichomonas infection (such as trichomoniasis)
  • Vaginal secretions (such as blood or heavy mucus discharge)

The following may turn the test even when you do have an urinary infection:

  • High level of protein
  • High level of vitamin C


Treatment for leukocytes in the urine depends on the cause and if there is an infection. For some conditions, such as a bacterial UTI, antibiotic therapy will clear up the infection relatively quickly.

For more severe infections or those that will not resolve easily, more in-depth medical treatment may be needed. In some cases, hospitalization may be necessary.

Lifestyle changes can help reduce the symptoms of some conditions that cause leukocytes to enter the urine, such as:

  • drinking more water
  • urinating when you have to go
  • staying as healthy as you can



The information on is NOT intended to replace a one-on-one relationship with a qualified health care professional and is not intended as medical advice.


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