What does 50-55 HPF mean in the urine test?

Posted by Amelia on December 15, 2022
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    When you get a urine test, you're likely to see some terms that are unfamiliar. One of those terms is "high power field" or HPF, which shows up in the results section of the test. If you were able to read the code on your testing device's screen before it was interpreted by an automated program (which most doctors' offices don't allow), then you might have seen something like this: "HPF 55." What does that mean? It depends on what type of urine test you took and what other tests were run along with it.

    Leukocytes (white blood cells) in urine.

    Leukocytes are white blood cells and form part of your immune system. The immune system is responsible for fighting off infections. When it detects an infection, it sends out soldiers (leukocytes) to fight the bacteria that are causing the infection.

    The presence of leukocytes in urine indicates a urinary tract infection (UTI). Leukocytes can be found in urine when there is an infection in any part of your urinary tract—kidneys, ureters (tubes connecting kidneys to bladder), bladder or urethra (urinary opening).

    Bacteria in urine.

    Bacteria are a type of living organism. In humans, they live in the bowels, intestines and reproductive organs. Bacteria can also be found in the skin, nose and mouth. They are part of the normal flora (the body's ecosystem) and usually don't cause any disease or illness.

    However, some bacteria do cause infection if they enter the body through cuts or wounds on your skin (like a cut finger). If your immune system is working properly and you have no allergies to antibiotics or other medicines that kill bacteria then you will not suffer any long term effects from this type of infection


    Yeast is a type of fungus that is often found in the environment and sometimes on human skin. Yeast infections are caused by Candida, which can be found in many parts of the body, including the mouth, vagina and digestive tract.

    The presence of yeast in urine is not usually harmful; however, it can indicate an overgrowth of Candida due to antibiotic use or diabetes mellitus (high blood sugar). Yeast may also be present if you have been diagnosed with immunodeficiency syndrome or HIV/AIDS and have taken steroids orally or intravenously for extended periods.

    Yeast cells typically appear as round or oval structures with borders that look like lines around them. They may also appear as strings or chains that are connected together. Yeast cells generally range from 2-5 micrometers (µm) but can grow larger than 10 µm if they reproduce excessively within your body's fluids.


    Crystals are solid particles that form when two or more chemicals combine. Crystals can be made up of a mineral salt, such as sodium chloride (table salt) or potassium sulfate. The type of crystal that forms is determined by the chemical composition of urine and how it reacts with water in your body.

    Crystals can be seen in the urine, blood and sputum (phlegm). They may look like grains or rods depending on their shape and size.

    Red blood cells.

    Red blood cells are the most common type of cell in the human body. They're packed with hemoglobin, which helps carry oxygen throughout the body. When you have anemia, there are fewer red blood cells than normal.

    Anemia can be caused by a variety of factors including:

    • Vitamin B12 deficiency or folic acid deficiency
    • Iron-deficiency anemia (a condition where your body does not have enough iron)
    • Kidney disease

    Casts (molded white blood cells or red blood cells).

    Casts are white, yellow or brown molds of cells that can form in the kidneys. They're formed when cells are unable to pass through the kidney tubules and are then reabsorbed into the blood stream.

    Casts can be formed by white blood cells (leukocytes), red blood cells (erythrocytes) and even spermatozoa. If you have a urinary tract infection (UTI), your doctor will likely order a urine test to check for bacteria that has caused an infection in your urinary tract. The presence of casts may indicate kidney damage from exposure to harmful chemicals such as carbon tetrachloride and perchloroethylene (PERC).

    Sperm (in unspun urine samples).

    Sperm (in unspun urine samples).

    Sperm is white, so it will show up as bright white in your sample. The high power field is magnified 50-55 times, so you can see the sperm swimming around if there are enough of them.

    The high power field is the area of a microscope slide where the lens is magnified to its highest degree, which can be 50-55 times.

    The high power field is the area of a microscope slide where the lens is magnified to its highest degree, which can be 50-55 times. It's also called the "oil immersion" section of your urine test.


    Although this test is very simple, the results can have a huge impact on your life. If you are diagnosed with an infection in your urine, it’s important to get treatment right away before it spreads and becomes more serious. So if you notice any signs of a UTI (urinary tract infection), make sure that your doctor performs this test as soon as possible!

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