What does Epithelial Cells in Urine Mean

It’s normal for men and women that a few amounts of epithelial cells appear in urine, wherever the cells originate from the bladder or the urethra. High epithelial cells may mean something for concern, such as inflammation, infections and even malignancies.

There are four main types of epithelial cells seen in urine, for more information on the types of them, click on the links in the table below or scroll down.

Transitional Squamous
Renal tubular Neoplasia

Transitional epithelial cells

These cells are found in the ureters, bladder and urethra, their shape is round or ovoid varying in the original location such as the renal pelvis and the bladder. However, the cells will become flat if they are stretching.

In this case, if the cells are in low amount in the urine, it could be a normal result that these transitional cells flake off into the urine. If the urine occurs a very large amount of transitional epithelium cells, however, it may result in dysfunction, for example a bladder infection.

Squamous epithelial cells

These cells are different from the above type of epithelial cells:

  • 1. larger size
  • 2. smaller nuclei
  • 3. irregular in the border of cells

In common, the contamination of your urine sample is the main cause of the presence of squamous epithelial cells in the specimen. However, there might be something for concern if the cells are increasing to a large amount. Sometimes this may be linked to cancer rarely, like squamous cell carcinoma or urothelial carcinoma.

Renal tubular epithelial cells

In comparison to the transitional epithelium, these cells are smaller and rounder, and they are less common to be showed up the urine sediment. A large increasing numbers of cells found in urine will be suspected, it may be indicating a kidney problem, for example nephrotic syndrome.

Neoplasia cells

TCC, which stands for transitional cell carcinoma, may slough the cells into the urine. This presence maybe means to a urinary neoplasia. TCC will lead to hemorrhage while invading the bladder wall in most time.

Epithelial Cells in Urine Normal Range

The range: “few,” “moderate,” or “many” – per LPF. The normal range is less than 15-20 cells per HPF.


  • LPF: low power field
  • HPF: high power field

Other Substances in Urine Meaning

Besides epithelial cells, there are other substances that present in your urine sample. Now, what does it mean? Here are some things that you need to know:

Red Blood Cells (RBCs)

If RBCs found in urine, it indicates some health problems including inflammation in urinary tract or kidney disease. Sometimes it may be due to unclear urine sample or blood from menstruation or hemorrhoids.

White Blood Cells (WBCs)

If the amount of WBCs is high, it might be due to an infection in urinary tract.


A urinary tract infection can cause bacteria into your urine sample. In addition yeast will be found in urine for women with yeast infection.


It’s abnormal if there are crystals like cysteine or leucine observed in urine, kidney stone is one of the medical problem you should be for concern. Besides, crystals in urine may also be due to some medications or x-ray in some case.


Red blood cell casts will indicate a glomeruli problem and white blood cell casts will indicate a kidney inflammation.