White blood cells (WBCs) help the body fight infections and other health conditions as part of the immune system. Certain diseases can impact the normal WBC range among females.
Abnormal WBC levels in females may be a sign of another condition. Low levels may indicate a virus, and they may also occur after a person undergoes certain cancer treatments. High levels may be a sign of bacterial infection, inflammation, and stress. Many other conditions can also cause high or low WBC levels.
This article explores typical WBC ranges in more detail. It also discusses what to expect during a WBC count, the possible causes of high and low WBC counts, and when someone should speak with a doctor. Finally, it answers some common questions about WBC counts for females.
A note about sex and gender
Sex and gender exist on spectrums. This article will use the terms “male,” “female,” or both to refer to sex assigned at birth. Click here to learn more.
Normal WBC ranges vary according to sex and age. For females, a normal WBC count ranges from 4,500–11,000 white cells per µL of blood. This count ranges from 5,000–10,000 white cells per µL of blood among males and children.
A doctor may recommend a WBC count for people with these or other symptoms.
During a WBC count, a medical professional inserts a small needle into a person’s arm. They remove a small sample of blood and collect this sample in a vial or test tube. This may cause some discomfort, but this is typically minimal.
After this, a medical professional will clean the injection site and apply gauze to stop any bleeding before applying a bandage. This process may cause slight bruising around the injection site for a couple of days.
The medical professional will send the blood samples to a laboratory for testing. In the laboratory, technicians use a machine to determine the WBC count.
Once the laboratory technicians have processed the sample, a person’s doctor will share the results of the test with them. Anyone preparing for a WBC count should speak with their doctor if they have any questions or concerns.
Certain conditions may elevate WBC counts, such as:
- rheumatoid arthritis
- thyroid issues
- kidney failure
- some cancers, like leukemia and lymphoma
Taking certain medications may also cause high WBC counts. Recent studies have also found elevated WBC counts in individuals with polycystic ovary syndrome (PCOS). Some researchers believe that chronic inflammation associated with PCOS may increase WBC counts in certain cases.
Different conditions may cause low WBC counts, such as:
Certain cancer treatments, like chemotherapy and radiation therapy, may also lower WBC counts. Additionally, some medications, like antipsychotic medications and overactive thyroid medications, may lower WBC counts.
Abnormal WBC counts may cause negative health consequences in some people. For example, elevated WBC counts may reduce blood supply to certain areas of the body. They may also lead to small blood vessel damage.
People with low or high WBC counts should speak with a doctor to help reduce the chance of negative health outcomes later on.
Individuals who have already had a WBC count should visit a doctor if their symptoms change. For example, people with low WBC counts should see a doctor if they develop a fever.
A healthcare professional can determine the cause of abnormal WBC counts and recommend appropriate treatment on an individual basis.
Below are some common questions about normal WBC count ranges for females.
What is a good WBC level for a woman?
A typical WBC count for females is between 4,500–11,000 white cells per µL of blood.
What is an alarming WBC count?
Doctors call a WBC count of
What happens if a WBC count is low?
A normal WBC count for females is between 4,500–11,000 white cells per µL of blood.
Higher and lower WBC counts may occur for a number of reasons, such as infections or if a person is taking certain medications.
A medical professional can carry out a test to determine a person’s WBC count. They can also help identify the cause of a high or low WBC count and recommend an appropriate course of treatment.