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Neurourol Urodyn. 2017 Apr;36(4):850-853. doi: 10.1002/nau.23006.

The urinary microbiome and its contribution to lower urinary tract symptoms; ICI-RS 2015.

Author information

School of Clinical Sciences, University of Bristol, Bristol, United Kingdom.
Bristol Urological Institute, Southmead Hospital, Bristol, United Kingdom.
2nd Department of Urology, Aristotle University of Thessaloniki, Papageorgiou Hospital, Thessaloniki, Greece.
Department of Urology, Maastricht University Medical Center, Maastricht, Netherlands.
School of Biosciences, Cardiff University, Cardiff, United Kingdom.
Centre for Digestive and Gut Health, Imperial College London, London, United Kingdom.



The microbiome is the term used for the symbiotic microbial colonisation of healthy organs. Studies have found bacterial identifiers within voided urine which is apparently sterile on conventional laboratory culture, and accordingly there may be health and disease implications.


The International Consultation on Incontinence Research Society (ICI-RS) established a literature review and expert consensus discussion focussed on the increasing awareness of the urinary microbiome, and potential research priorities.


The consensus considered the discrepancy between findings of conventional clinical microbiology methods, which generally rely on culture parameters predisposed towards certain "expected" organisms. Discrepancy between selective culture and RNA sequencing to study species-specific 16S ribosomal RNA is increasingly clear, and highlights the possibility that protective or harmful bacteria may be overlooked where microbiological methods are selective. There are now strong signals of the existence of a "core" urinary microbiome for the human urinary tract, particularly emerging with ageing. The consensus reviewed the potential relationship between a patient's microbiome and lower urinary tract dysfunction, whether low-count bacteriuria may be clinically significant and mechanisms which could associate micro-organisms with lower urinary tract symptoms.


Key research priorities identified include the need to establish the scope of microbiome across the range of normality and clinical presentations, and gain consensus on testing protocols. Proteomics to study enzymatic and other functions may be necessary, since different bacteria may have overlapping phenotype. Longitudinal studies into risk factors for exposure, cumulative risk, and emergence of disease need to undertaken. Neurourol. Urodynam. 36:850-853, 2017. © 2017 Wiley Periodicals, Inc.


LUTS; bladder pain syndrome; lower urinary tract symptoms; microbiome; microbiota; overactive bladder; urinary tract infection

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