Prevalence of “low-count” bacteriuria in female urinary incontinence versus continent female controls: a cross-sectional study

  • Colin A. Walsh
  • Anne Siddins
  • Katrina Parkin
  • Chinmoy Mukerjee
  • Kate H. Moore
Original Article


Introduction and hypothesis

Older studies suggesting an association between detrusor overactivity and bacteriuria used an outdated microbiological threshold. We hypothesised that bacteriuria ≥103 CFU/ml would be more prevalent in women with urinary incontinence than continent controls.


A prospective, cross-sectional study of prevalence of bacteriuria ≥103 colony-forming units (CFU)/ml on catheter specimens. Sample estimates suggested 62 women per arm would yield 80% power. Multivariate regression analysis was performed using risk factors including, age, diabetes, menopausal status, sexual activity and cystocele.


Among 213 participants, bacteriuria ≥103 CFU/ml was more prevalent in incontinent women than continent controls (odds ratio [OR] 4.06; p = 0.036). Two thirds of bacteriuric specimens grew “low-count” bacteriuria. On multivariate analysis, only cystocele ≥ grade II was independently associated with bacteriuria (p = 0.025). On sub-analysis by diagnosis, the only significant finding was with bladder oversensitivity (OR 13.8; p = 0.0017).


Bacteriuria, including “low-count” bacteriuria, is more prevalent in urinary incontinence when compared to continent female controls.


Bacteriuria Incontinence Low count Risk factor Urinary tract infection 



We are grateful to Yueping A. Wang, Medical Statistician, School of Women’s and Children’s Health, University of New South Wales, Sydney, Australia for his help with statistical analysis. This study was funded by a 2010 IUGA Research Grant. Dr. Colin Walsh is partially funded by a University of New South Wales International Research Scholarship.

Conflicts of interest



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Copyright information

© The International Urogynecological Association 2011

Authors and Affiliations

  • Colin A. Walsh
    • 1
  • Anne Siddins
    • 1
  • Katrina Parkin
    • 1
  • Chinmoy Mukerjee
    • 2
  • Kate H. Moore
    • 1
  1. 1.Department of UrogynaecologySt George Hospital, University of New South WalesSydneyAustralia
  2. 2.Department of MicrobiologySt George HospitalSydneyAustralia

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