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No, your urine is not sterile, new research finds

Bear Grylls, that intrepid survival expert from "Man vs. Wild," might want to rethink his penchant for drinking his own urine. Contrary to popular belief, new research shows that urine from an otherwise healthy person may not be as germ-free as we were led to believe.

“For years, actually forever, the belief was that if you don’t have a urinary tract infection, the urine is sterile,” explains Evann Hilt, lead investigator and second-year master’s student at Loyola University Chicago. “We showed that isn’t the case. Humans are microbial supersystems and to think any part is sterile and void is mind-boggling to me.”

Researchers evaluated urine specimens of 84 women, 42 of whom were healthy, and 42 who were diagnosed with symptoms of an overactive bladder, a condition affecting about 15 percent of women, with symptoms including urinary urgency, among others. Results presented Sunday at a microbiology meeting in Boston showed that patients with overactive bladders had a total of 77 different species of bacteria, while the healthy control patients had 33 different species.

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