In overactive bladder (OAB), presence of certain bacteria contributes to OAB symptoms. Debunking the commonly held belief that urine is sterile, researchers found that, in fact, it is not germ-free. Co-investigator Linda Brubaker said, “Doctors have been trained to believe that urine is germ-free… These findings challenge this notion, so this research opens the door to exciting new possibilities for patient treatment.”
The study also found that bladder bacteria in healthy women differ from those in women with OAB.
Lead investigator Evann Hilt said, “The presence of certain bacteria in women with overactive bladder may contribute to OAB symptoms. Further research is needed to determine if these bacterial differences are clinically relevant for the millions of women with OAB and the doctors who treat them.”
“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,” added Alan Wolfe, co-investigator.
The study looked at urine samples from 90 women with and without OAB. Director Paul Schreckenberger said, “While traditional urine cultures have been the gold standard to identify urine disorders in the past, they do not detect most bacteria and have limited utility as a result. They are not as comprehensive as the EQUC protocol used in this study.”
The next step in the research is to determine which bacteria are helpful and which are harmful in order to develop targeted treatments.
Other factors that increase your risk of OAB symptoms
Risk factors that increase your risk of OAB symptoms include excess weight, smoking, menopause, medications, diet, neurological disorders, and medical conditions.
Regardless of whether you have an overactive bladder or not, you need to keep your bladder health in mind and take good care of it. Here are some tips to keep your bladder healthy:
- Never hold in your urine for too long as it can damage your nerves that send a response to your brain instructing you when to go.
- Stay hydrated so your body can expel toxins and bacteria to avoid urinary tract infections.
- Perform Kegel exercises. This involves squeezing and relaxing the pelvic floor muscles to maintain bladder control.
- Quit smoking as it irritates the bladder.
By following these bladder-friendly tips and being aware of the causes of an overactive bladder, you can ensure your bladder stays healthy for many more years to come. Now that’s peace of mind.