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What does it mean when urinalysis shows high levels of squamous epithelial cells?

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A urinalysis result showing an increase of squamous epithelial cells usually means there is some form of contamination in the sample, but in some instances, a high level of these indicates a urinary tract infection, inflammation or other health condition, says the Johns Hopkins Medicine. Urine normally contains a small amount of epithelial cells, and it is not cause for concern.

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Epithelial tissue lines the surfaces of cavities and structures in the body, states Johns Hopkins Medicine. This includes the lining of the urethra and bladder, which is why epithelial cells are normally present in urine. An abnormally high level of these cells indicates contamination and usually requires submission of a new sample.

Urinalysis includes a microscopic examination of the urine sample, which allows detection of abnormal cells and other substances. This type of examination is extremely beneficial in helping the doctor diagnose a patient, explains American Family Physician. For example, the examination of casts in the urine helps determine where in the genitourinary system a disease is located. The presence of abnormal crystals can indicate a urinary tract infection, alkaline urine or acidic urine. Certain types of bacteria in the urine can help guide the doctor in choosing an effective antibiotic.

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