Women, Your Urine Isn't Sterile After All

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The bladder in a healthy woman contains bacteria similar to what’s found in the vagina, say researchers from Loyola University Chicago and the Wellcome Sanger Institute in the United Kingdom. The findings of their small study dispel the common belief that healthy urine is sterile, which has held for more than 60 years and was first overturned by Loyola microbiologists in 2012. The hope is that this finding could lead to better treatments for urinary problems, including urinary tract infections (UTIs).

The U.S. and British researchers sequenced the genes of 149 bacterial strains from 77 women. They found that the microorganisms found in the bladder and vagina were similar, but markedly different from those found in the digestive tract.

In women, the bladder and vagina are connected by the urethra, creating one “microbiota niche,” say the researchers, involving both “good” and “bad” bacteria. More research could lead to new diagnostic and treatment options for UTIs, urinary incontinence, and other disorders of the genitourinary system.

Sourced from: Nature Communications