Many things can be found in urine. Some of them are red blood cells, white blood cells, bacteria, and even pus. Epithelial cells are another common finding in urine samples, but what exactly are they? And how concerned should you be if your doctor finds these on a test? In this article, we’ll discuss the different types of epithelial cells in urine as well as their significance.

What Are Epithelial Cells?

Epithelial cells are the most common type of cell found in urine. These cells are in the lining of crevices, such as your mouth and nose, and they also form a protective barrier between your organs and the outside world.

While they can be found anywhere on your body, epithelial cells usually show up in urine when someone has a urinary tract infection (UTI). UTIs occur when bacteria get inside the urinary tract, which is located between the bladder and urethra. The bacteria cause a condition that triggers inflammation in these areas, causing pain and discomfort.

What are the different types of epithelial cells in urine?

Epithelial cells are found in the lining of your urinary tract and in the vagina. There are several types of epithelial cells, including squamous, transitional, and cuboidal cells.

The most common type of epithelial cell is squamous, which makes up 80 percent to 90 percent of all epithelial cell growths found on a microscopic slide. Transitional cell carcinoma is another common type of urinary tract tumor that can be identified under a microscope by looking at its structure under a microscope slide with polarized light or by examining it directly under bright field microscopy (BFM). 

Transitional cell carcinomas typically appear as small tubules composed chiefly of kidney tubular-like cells but also show some squamous differentiation. They’re usually benign but may become malignant with time. Epitheloid is another rarer form of cancerous tumor that grows within the bladder or prostate gland; again, this type tends to grow slowly over time, so your doctor will likely not diagnose it unless they feel something is wrong during an exam routine checkup.”

How do epithelial cells get into urine?

Epithelial cells are the most common cells in the body and line all your bodily organs, including your urethra, bladder, vagina, and kidneys. Epithelial cells secrete mucus to protect the lining of these organs. Mucus is a very effective way for epithelial cells to defend against germs that may be entering your body through urine or saliva. 

When you cough or sneeze, there can be an increase in pressure within one of these organs, which will result in some of that mucus being pushed out as well with it any attached epithelial cell fragments. This is why you should never try to clean out a cut on your finger using water from a toilet bowl because it could contain bacteria from someone’s urine!

Suppose you notice that abnormal-looking white particles are floating around in your urine. In that case, this could indicate that there has been damage somewhere along your urinary tract and that some bacteria may have entered into this area, causing irritation which resulted in some tissue shedding itself off into urination, such as what would happen during infection by chlamydia bacteria (Chlamydia trachomatis) or gonorrhea bacteria (Neisseria gonorrhoeae).

What are the signs and symptoms of epithelial cells in urine?

The most common symptom of epithelial cells in urine is pain or burning sensation when urinating. Other signs include blood in the urine, foul-smelling urine, and cloudy or dark yellow urine that may be red, brownish, or pinkish as well as clear or pale.

Does the Presence of Red Blood Cells Mean You Should Be Worried?

While the presence of red blood cells in urine is often cause for concern, it’s not always a sign of kidney problems. Red blood cells are usually found in urine with a high protein concentration and cells, indicating that you have an infection or inflammation in your urinary tract.

However, red blood cells are a common type of epithelial cell found in the body’s mucus membranes, including those lining the bladder and urethra (the tube responsible for carrying urine). 

Epithelial cells perform many important functions related to protection and maintenance—they prevent bacteria from entering other tissues within the body via their tight junctions; they secrete mucus to trap foreign particles before they reach sensitive regions, and they produce enzymes like lysozyme that help destroy harmful invaders such as viruses or bacteria.

What are the risk factors for increased epithelial cells?

Your risk is higher if you have a family history of kidney disease. If you are an older person, the risk is higher again. But even if neither applies to you, epithelial cells can show up in urine tests.

For example:

  • 1. Smoking causes the blood vessels that take oxygen and nutrients to the kidneys to be blocked more often than non-smokers. The same is true when high blood pressure or another condition affects circulation.
  • 2. If a woman has had an infection of her urinary tract (UTI) recently, she may have bacteria present at the time of testing and see them on her culture report as well as on her urine sample test strip results. This doesn’t always mean there’s anything wrong with your kidneys—it just means they were exposed to microbes during infection at some point recently.

When must you consult a doctor for increased Epithelial Cells in the Urine?

Urinalysis is a simple test that can give you a lot of information about your health. If you have an increased number of epithelial cells in your urine, it may indicate that something is wrong with your urinary tract.

At-home urine tests are quick and easy to perform and can help you catch an infection early on. This could save you time and money, as well as prevent further damage from occurring. You should also consider having this type of test done if you have had any urinary tract infection (UTI) symptoms. These include frequent urination, burning during urination, pain in the lower abdomen or back, fever and chills, nausea or vomiting, and blood in the urine.

If the results indicate that there are more epithelial cells than normally present in the sample taken from your urine, talk to your doctor about what this means for your health. They may recommend additional testing or treatment options based on their assessment of how severe the condition may be.

What Else Should You Know About Epithelial Cells in Urine?

If you find epithelial cells in your urine, it does not necessarily mean that you have cancer. In fact, some people carry around the cells without ever developing a tumor. If you do have any of the following symptoms, however, then it is important to see your doctor:

  • 1. A fever
  • 2. Blood in your urine
  • 3. Pain in your lower back or side

Epithelial cells in urine may be a sign of a kidney disorder.

If you find epithelial cells in your urine, it may indicate a kidney disorder. If the number of cells is low, the condition is unlikely to be serious. However, if you have more than five million epithelial cells per milliliter of urine, or if they are present for more than three days in a row, you should consult with your doctor.

  • 1. Test for kidney disease: Your doctor will perform a blood test to check that there are no abnormalities in your liver and kidneys before diagnosing any disease or disorder affecting those organs.
  • 2. Treatments: If a kidney-related problem has been identified and treated successfully, any symptoms associated with this issue will likely disappear very quickly.


If you have any concerns about your health and are experiencing the symptoms of epithelial cells in the urine, it’s important to seek medical attention immediately. Your doctor will be able to tell if there is an underlying condition that needs treatment or just keep an eye on. The most common reason for these cells appearing in urine is due to a condition called interstitial cystitis (IC), which affects between 5% and 15% of people with chronic bladder pain.

Frequently Asked Questions

What is the normal range of epithelial cells in urine?

The normal range for epithelial cells in urine is 1-5 cells/high-power field.

What causes many epithelial cells in urine?

There are numerous causes of an increased number of epithelial cells in urine. These include everything from dehydration to urinary tract infections.

What does it mean when your epithelial cells are abnormal?

An abnormal finding of epithelial cells in urine could indicate a number of things. These include infection, inflammation, or even cancer.

What happens if epithelial cells are high?

If you have a high number of epithelial cells in your urine, it is important to speak with a medical professional to determine the cause.

What do high epithelial cells in urine mean?

There are numerous potential causes of high epithelial cells in urine. These include infection, inflammation, or even cancer.

How do you treat high epithelial cells?

The treatment for high epithelial cells in urine will vary depending on the underlying cause.

What is a normal urine test report?

A normal urine test report should show 1-5 epithelial cells/high-power field.

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