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Bladder Bacteria Vary in Women with Common Forms of Incontinence

Loyola researcher discusses research on urinary bacteria and its implications for incontinence symptoms

MAYWOOD, Ill. – Women with common forms of urinary incontinence have various bacteria in their bladder, according to data presented today by researchers from Loyola University Chicago Stritch School of Medicine. Researchers also found that some of these bacteria may differ based on the type of incontinence that the patient has.

These findings were presented at the 34th Annual Scientific Meeting of the American Urogynecologic Society in Las Vegas. They stem from Loyola’s Urinary Research and Educational Collaboration, an institutional effort to identify and characterize urinary bacteria and how they relate to urinary health and disease.

“Loyola’s Urinary Research and Educational Collaboration has allowed us to identify valuable information about the existence and function of bacteria in the female lower urinary tract,” said Linda Brubaker, MD, MS, co-lead investigator and dean, Loyola University Chicago Stritch School of Medicine. “This information may help us more effectively treat women whose incontinence symptoms persist despite appropriate evaluation and medical treatment."

Lower urinary tract disorders, including incontinence, are highly common in American women. Stress urinary incontinence (SUI) is the loss of urine from physical activity such as coughing, sneezing and running. Urgency urinary incontinence (UUI) is the strong or sudden need to urinate.

This study analyzed urine samples from women with SUI, predominant SUI, UUI and predominant UUI. Volunteers in each group contributed catheterized urine samples. Each urine sample was analyzed in several ways: conventional urine culture, Gram stain analysis and advanced technology using DNA sequencing analysis. The bacteria in women with UUI and predominant UUI were easily distinguishable from the bacteria in women with SUI and predominant SUI.

“While further research is needed, evaluating the urinary microbiome may be a useful tool to characterize women with urinary incontinence prior to and following treatment to better treat their condition,” Dr. Brubaker said.

Loyola University Health System (LUHS) is a member of Trinity Health. Based in the western suburbs of Chicago, LUHS is a quaternary care system with a 61-acre main medical center campus, the 36-acre Gottlieb Memorial Hospital campus and more than 30 primary and specialty care facilities in Cook, Will and DuPage counties. The medical center campus is conveniently located in Maywood, 13 miles west of the Chicago Loop and 8 miles east of Oak Brook, Ill. The heart of the medical center campus is a 559-licensed-bed hospital that houses a Level 1 Trauma Center, a Burn Center and the Ronald McDonald® Children's Hospital of Loyola University Medical Center. Also on campus are the Cardinal Bernardin Cancer Center, Loyola Outpatient Center, Center for Heart & Vascular Medicine and Loyola Oral Health Center as well as the LUC Stritch School of Medicine, the LUC Marcella Niehoff School of Nursing and the Loyola Center for Fitness. Loyola's Gottlieb campus in Melrose Park includes the 255-licensed-bed community hospital, the Professional Office Building housing 150 private practice clinics, the Adult Day Care, the Gottlieb Center for Fitness, Loyola Center for Metabolic Surgery and Bariatric Care and the Loyola Cancer Care & Research at the Marjorie G. Weinberg Cancer Center at Melrose Park.

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Nora Plunkett
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