The occurrence of matter like debris, dead cells, proteins, bacteria, leukocytes, white blood cells, etc., in urine is referred to as sediment in urine. Such substances normally develop in varied parts of the urinary system like the kidneys, bladder, etc.
Sediment in urine is a common condition, but its presence in excessive of abnormal quantities can be indicative of some health problem. The sediment levels in urine as well as the type of sediment is usually tested via different kinds of urine tests.
Sediment in urine is usually harmless; it may or may not be accompanied by additional symptoms like burning feeling when passing urine, cloudy urine, etc. It may however be noted that sediment in urine by itself can also be a sign of varied underlying urinary system problems like UTIs, kidney diseases, etc. It is therefore very essential to visit a doctor whenever you experience any kind of urinary issues.
Symptoms accompanying sediment in urine
Sediment in urine may not be easily detectable via naked eye. It is usually detected during a urine test. People tend to go for tests if they experience urinary system problems marked by signs and symptoms as listed below, in addition to urine sediments:
- Sudden and increased desire to pass urine more frequently
- Changes in color of urine to pinkish, reddish, etc.
- Frothy, foaming, or cloudy urine
- Pain when urinating
- Pain in the lower back part of the body. It is however uncommon.
Causes of sediment in urine
Sediment in urine is detected by placing a urine sample in a spinning machine in a lab. The sediments settle down to the bottom after spinning is stopped. These sediments are then microscopically examined by a lab technician for any kind of anomalies. This will help detect the underlying causes.
Some of the common causes of sediment in urine are listed below:
- UTIs/Urinary Tract infections: A variety of diseases that affect the urinary system can cause sediment in urine, but the most common affliction is UTI. The bacteria and other pathogens can enter the urinary tract via the urethra or the bloodstream. Patients may suffer from additional symptoms like painful urination, frequent urination, etc.
- Bladder stones:Bladder stones develop due to accumulation of urine in the bladder. Such urine deposits form into crystals and then stones over a period of time. They then get eliminated from the body along with urine as sediments.
- Urine accumulation in bladder in men can occur due to prostate enlargement which in turn can occur with an increased age. An enlarged prostate can exert pressure on the urethra which can hamper the free outflow of urine, thereby causing urine to collect in the bladder.
- In women, reduced urine outflow may be due to weakening and damage of the bladder muscles and nerves due to pregnancy and conditions like bladder diverticula.
- Other conditions that can cause urine accumulation and bladder stones include radiation treatments that inflame the pelvis and bladder area; use of urinary medical instruments like bladder catheters; passage of kidney stones into the bladder; and use of some kinds of contraceptive devices.
- Diabetes: The blood in diabetics is marked by high blood sugar levels. The excess glucose is eliminated from the body as sediment in urine. Also, the body tends to burn fats to produce the necessary energy in people with diabetes or those who are starving. This process of fat metabolism for energy produces a byproduct called ketones, which are also released along with urine as sediments.
- Casts: It refers to abnormally shaped cells, or parts of cells, or just plain crud. When casts are present as sediment in urine, then patients need to seek immediate medical help as it is often a sign of some serious illness.
- Hematuria: It refers to the presence of red blood cells in urine and is regarded as one of the most common causes of sediment in urine. It can arise due to many different causes like renal infarcts, urinary tract infections, glomeruli dysfunction, urinary system tumors, kidney diseases, trauma or injury to any part of the urinary system, and/or excessively using bladder or other urinary catheters.
- Liver conditions: The liver produces a substance called bilirubin which gets removed as sediment in urine. The presence of bilirubin in urine, especially in high quantities, can also be a sign of liver disease, bile ducts blockages, and other conditions. Untreated cases of high bilirubin can progress into jaundice. Hence, patients need to seek immediate medical attention.
Treatment of sediment in urine
If sediment in urine is detected in the lab, then the doctor will suggest a battery of other tests to determine the underlying causative condition. The underlying disease is then cured as per standard treatment procedures. A few examples are listed below:
- UTIs are generally treated with antibiotics and following self-care guidelines.
- Liver diseases are treated with medications; severe cases may need a liver transplant.
- Kidney and bladder stones can be treated with medicines with surgery being the last resort.
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