Public Release:  Bacteria found in bladders of healthy women differ from those in women with incontinence

Loyola University Health System

Bacteria found in the bladders of healthy women differ from bacteria in women with a common form of incontinence, according to researchers from Loyola University Chicago Stritch School of Medicine.

These findings, published July 9, 2014, in the American Society for Microbiology's online journal mBio, suggest that bacterial communities may play a role in female urinary health.

"Urgency urinary incontinence (UUI) is a common, yet poorly understood, condition with symptoms similar to urinary tract infections," said Alan Wolfe, PhD, co-investigator and professor of Microbiology and Immunology. "If we can determine that certain bacteria cause UUI symptoms, we may be able to better identify those at risk for this condition and more effectively treat them."

Approximately 15 percent of women suffer from UUI and yet an estimated 40 - 50 percent do not respond to conventional treatments. One possible explanation for the lack of response to medication may be the bacteria present in these women.

This study evaluated urine specimens of 90 women with and without UUI symptoms. Samples were collected through a catheter and analyzed using an expanded quantitative urine culture (EQUC) technique. This technique was able to find bacteria that are not identified by the standard culture techniques typically used to diagnose urinary tract syndromes. This study also used 16S rDNA sequencing to classify bacterial DNA. The UUI and non-UUI urinary bacteria differed by group based on both culture type and sequence.

"These findings may have strong implications for the prevention, diagnosis and treatment of women with this form of incontinence," said Paul Schreckenberger, PhD, co-investigator and director, clinical microbiology laboratory, Loyola University Health System.

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