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An emerging link between the urinary microbiome and urinary incontinence

August 12, 2020

About the Author

photo of Jeannine Miranne, MD, MS

Jeannine Miranne, MD, MS, Contributor

Jeannine M. Miranne, MD, MS is a Urogynecologist at Brigham and Women’s Hospital and an Assistant Professor of Obstetrics, Gynecology, and Reproductive Biology at Harvard Medical School. She also serves as the Course Director for the … See Full Bio
View all posts by Jeannine Miranne, MD, MS


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August 19, 2020

Very interesting discovery of the link between incontinence and the biome. Seems very similar to OpenBiome and their work on the impact of fecal transplants in improving rectal health.

Given the different types of incontinence like stress induced, urge, overlflow etc, it would be interesting to learn whether stress causes the change in the biome, or if it is the other way around.

Cathy Milne-Ware
August 17, 2020

As a woman whose urinary incontinence began as stress-based when I was 8 years old but evolved into urine loss when there is a sudden need to urinate, this is interesting and exciting. Incontinence is not only inconvenient but embarrassing. Keep all of us women updated, please.

Christine Weisickle
August 17, 2020

I agree with azure. The biome issue may have come after the incontinence, cystitis etc. because all the “good bugs” were wiped out by an antibiotic that the person was taking for the problem.
Nevertheless, one should replenish their biome after antibiotics.

August 17, 2020

Both the probiotic treatment studies mentioned were done with lactobacillus vaginal suppositories. Males certainly have Urgency Incontinence and are their urinary tract microbiome different than their fellow males also? I am not sure oral probiotic treatment would be efficacious.

August 13, 2020

“including overactive bladder and interstitial cystitis/bladder pain syndrome, have an altered urinary microbiome.” Which comes first, interstitial cystitis or the altered microbiome? The article states only it’s a chicken & egg problem, i.e, which comes first– so while it establishes that there’s data showing the urine isn’t sterile, it doesn’t say one way or the other what the effects of having low levels of bacteria in urine have on healthy bodily functioning or causing a change in functioning (for the worse). Only that it seems as though those who can afford to have the kind of testing that shows the very low levels of a variety of organisms there’s a change in urinary microbiomes. There was no disclosure regarding whether or not researchers (or the writer of this article) get funding from manufacturers of commercial probiotic products–or if they didn’t.

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