Is Pee Sterile?

Urine is considered as a waste fluid product that is sterile and devoid of toxic chemicals and microorganisms. It is primarily composed of water, while other items like hormones, urea, salts, enzymes, and other kinds of trace minerals are present in minor amounts. People who believe in urine therapy state that urine consists of antiseptic, healing, and antimicrobial qualities.

Bacterial and other pathogenic contamination of urine can occur due to UTI or infections of the urinary system, i.e., the kidneys, urethra, bladder, and ureters. Urine contamination can also occur when the skin present outside the urethra gets exposed to varied pathogens. Bacterial presence in urine is tested via a urinalysis or urine culture.

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Women are more prone to suffering from urinary tract infections than men because of their genital anatomy. The proximity of the vagina and urethra to the anus in women makes the urinary tract more vulnerable to passage of bacteria into the tract and subsequent infection of the urinary system. Bacteria and other pathogens can also travel from the skin and the vagina itself into the urinary system. Most instances of urinary tract infections are treated with antibiotics and some lifestyle and diet changes.

Is pee sterile: What recent studies reveal

Even though it was widely believed that pee was sterile and free from germs, recent studies have contradicted this claim. Research has offered empirical data about bacterial presence in urine of people with overactive bladder as well as in the urine of healthy individuals.

The research and its findings were carried out and published by team at Loyola University Chicago Stritch School of Medicine. The findings of the study was presented at the yearly meeting of the American Society for Microbiology.

The team checked the urine specimens of ninety women and found bacterial matter in the pee of healthy women as well as in the pee of women suffering from overactive bladder. They also found that the germs occurring in the pee of each of these groups of women were different from one another. It was later theorized that occurrence of specific types of bacteria is what caused the distinctive symptoms in women suffering from an overactive bladder. This theory has yet to be validated.

It was also found that 15% of overactive bladder patients often experienced a sudden urge to pass urine, and nearly 40 to 50 percent of such women did not respond to medicines. It was later theorized that the differences in the kind of bacteria present in bladder was the reason for such disparity in response to medicinal therapy in the sub-group of women with overactive bladder.Team members have stated that identification of the relation between overactive bladder symptoms and the occurrence of certain kinds of bacteria can help in better diagnosis of overactive bladder in women as well as in better treatment of the condition.

The team is continuing its study to ascertain and differentiate between harmful and helpful bladder bacteria, their interactions with the host and each other, and the beneficial use of such new knowledge when it is found.

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Types of bacteria in pee

A urinalysis will typically detect the occurrence of one type of bacteria which is widely present in urine. Sometimes, 2 or more types of bacteria may be detected in urine, signifying infection by multiple pathogens.Bacteria in urine, or non-sterile pee, is usually caused due to a UTI/urinary tract infection or asymptomatic bacteriuria. Occurrence of bacteria in pee is considered to be normal.

Listed below are some of the common kinds of bacteria that are present in pee:

  • Escherichia coli/E. coli: This type of bacteria generally occurs in the lower part of the intestinal system. It is a gram negative bacteria that is removed from the body during bowel movements along with stool. In most cases, E. coli travel from rectum or stool to the urethra and move up into the urinary system. When the conditions are favorable, the bacteria rapidly multiply and cause UTI. Any section of the urinary can be infected by E. coli, thereby causing pyelonephritis or kidney infection, urethritis or urethral infection, and cystitis or bladder infection, etc.
  • Klebsiella pneumoniae/K. pneumoniae: Infesting body areas such as the gastrointestinal tract, skin, surgery sites, pharynx, and lungs, this type of gram negative bacterium causes pneumonia. K pneumoniae usually causes UTIs in the elderly, children, and those with impaired immune systems.It is important to correctly diagnose infection by this bacteria as it is often resistant to certain antibiotics.
  • Enterococcus faecalis: It is the second most common bacteria after E. coli that is present in pee. The gram positive bacteria is present in healthy individuals in the gastrointestinal tract. It travels from stool or the GI tract into the urinary system and causes infection after rapidly multiplying.In addition to UTI, the bacterium may also infect wounds, blood, and the pelvic area. It does not respond to penicillin or other common prescription antibiotics, thereby making treatment very difficult.
  • Lactobacillus bacteria: It typically occurs in the urinary tract, GI tract, and vagina. The gram positive bacterium releases lactic acid, thereby creating a harsh and unfavorable environment for the growth of certain harmful pathogens.It also occurs as part of a symbiotic relationship with certain kinds of gut flora. Occurrence of this bacteria in pee in trace amounts is not abnormal. However, if it grows and multiplies rapidly, then it can cause urinary tract infections.
  • Proteus Bacteria: Along with klebsiella, E. coli, and other species of bacteria, the Proteus bacteria strains are present as part of the intestinal tract flora. The passage of this bacteria, particularly P. mirabilis, from the intestinal tract to the urethra and urinary bladder results in a UTI. People affected by an infection of this gram negative bacteria may experience elimination of pee that is alkaline, darker than normal, and putrid smelling.Some patients may also experience hematuria or the presence of blood cells in pee as well as symptoms such as increased desire to urinate frequently, burning sensations when passing urine, and painful urination, etc.


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