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Dublin: 4 °C Monday 17 February, 2020

It turns out urine is not actually sterile

If you’re a woman, that is.

Image: urine image via Shutterstock

RESEARCHERS IN CHICAGO say they have debunked the common myth that normal urine is sterile – at least in the case of women.

The Loyola University presented its findings earlier today, which found that bacteria live in the bladders of healthy women. “Doctors have been trained to believe that urine is germ-free,” said Linda Brubaker, dean of the university. “These findings challenge this notion, so this research opens the door to exciting new possibilities for patient treatment.

Men were not included in this research so, lads, you might still be alright.

The study also revealed that the bladder bacteria in healthy women differ from that in women with overactive bladder, which causes a sudden need to urinate. This leads researchers to believe that the presence of certain bacteria may contribute to symptoms which could offer insight into treatment.


Approximately 15 per cent of women suffer from overactive bladder though up to 50 per cent do not respond to conventional treatments and this bacteria could be the reason.

“If we can determine that certain bacteria cause OAB symptoms, we may be able to better identify those at risk for this condition and more effectively treat them, said Alan Wolfe, a professor at the Loyola University.

Loyola researchers now plan to determine which bacteria in the bladder are helpful and which are harmful. They also will look at how these bacteria interact with each other and with their host, and how we can use this information to help patients.

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