Urinalysis

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Mucus in urine

Urinalysis
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Mucus in urine
foto de Fernando Martínez Sáez
Written by

Fernando Martínez Sáez
Medically reviewed by our Medical staff

Last update: 29-06-2021

How else can it be called?

  • Mucin in urine

  • CIE-10: R82.79

Why mucus can be present in urine?

The presence of mucus in urine is due to proteins from the tissue that line the urinary tract and prevents it against invading germs.

The mucous membranes that line the lower urinary tract (bladder, urethra, ureters etc.) and the renal epithelial cells normally produce mucus that may appear in the urine.

Tamm-Horsfall protein, also called uromodulin, is the major constituent of mucus in urine.

The excretion of Tamm-Horsfall protein in urine may provide defense against urinary tract infections caused by pathogenic bacteria.

Why is this test performed?

The presence of a small amount of mucus in the urine is very common and it is not indicative of a pathological condition in the body.

Mucus is more frequently present in female urine and the presence of mucus in urine has no clinical significance in either female or male urine.

How is the test performed?

Mucus in urine test is usually performed as routine urine test.

To study the mucus under the microscope, it is necessary to obtain the urinary sediment. For this matter, the urine sample should be placed at rest for some hours waiting for the different elements of the urine (white and red blood cells, mucus, crystals, etc.) precipitate to the bottom. As this process is very slow, the urine is centrifuged for about 5 minutes at 1500 or 2000 revolutions per second to obtain a sample of the sediment in less time.

Mucus appears under microscope as thread-like strands made of protein and it is often necessary to reduce light intensity to see it clearly.

Which does an abnormal result mean?

Mucus is identified under the microscope using the low-power objective, and is reported as rare, few, moderate, or many per low-power field.

A small amount of mucus in urine is common and with no clinical meaning. On the other hand, if there are many traces of mucus in the urine it may be a sign of:

  • Urinary Tract Infection (UTI)
    • Urethritis
    • Cystitis
    • Pyelonephritis
  • Sexually transmitted diseases (STD)
    • Chlamydia
    • Gonorrhea
  • Bladder cancer
  • Kidney stones
  • Irritable bowel syndrome (IBS)
  • Ulcerative colitis

What other urine test may be affected?

Large amounts of mucus in the specimen may produce a positive protein result on the chemical urine analysis

Medically reviewed by our Medical staff on 29-06-2021

Bibliography

  • Essentials of Medical Laboratory Practice. Constance L. Lieseke, Elizabeth A. Zeibig. 2012. ISBN: 978-0-8036-1899-2 Pag: 441.
  • Urinalysis and Body Fluids. Susan King Strasinger. Marjorie Schaub Di Lorenzo. 5th edition. 2008. ISBN 978-0-8036-1697-4 Pag. 102.

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