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What Is Pyuria?


Updated May 16, 2014

Written or reviewed by a board-certified physician. See About.com's Medical Review Board.

Definition: Pyuria is a condition that occurs when excess white blood cells, or pus, are present in the urine. Pyuria causes cloudy urine and frequently indicates the presence of a urinary tract infection (UTI).

Although most UTIs are not serious, they are painful. About half of all women has at least one urinary tract infection in her lifetime. Many women have several urinary tract infections during their lifes. The good news is that antibiotic treatment quickly relieves the symptoms of UTI; however, you must take all the antibiotics prescribed or you risk having a recurrent urinary infection. Your doctor may ask you to return for a follow up urinalysis after you complete antibiotic treatment to make sure the infection is completely gone.

The most common causes of urinary tract infections include bacteria from the bowels that migrates to the urethra, vigorous sexual activity during which bacteria is massaged into the urethra, having multiple sex partners, and suddenly having sex more more often than usual (also known as "honeymooner's cystitis").

Practicing good personal hygiene can help prevent urinary tract infections. This includes always wiping from front to back after urination and bowel movements, as well as daily washing of the skin around and between the vagina and rectum. Washing, or showering, both before and after sexual activity may also lower your risk of getting a urinary tract infection.


Urinary Tract Infection. Medline Plus. http://www.nlm.nih.gov/medlineplus/ency/article/000521.htm. Accessed 03/07/2011.

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