What can we do about testing in Australia?

For decades scientists have been warning of the dangers in the continued reliance on MSU cultures and urinary dipsticks to diagnose UTI. They have proven time and again that these tests are seriously deficient and miss at least 50 percent of genuine infections. There appears to be a significant lag between scientific medical developments and what is adopted at a clinical level. So what can patients do?


It may seem like a small step, but as patients we can first become educated.  We can then start having intelligent conversations with our doctors; sharing the science and asking plenty of good, intelligent questions in relation to our own symptoms and experiences.  If we can communicate information about chronic UTI and flawed testing to our doctors, perhaps they will also become curious and start conversations and ask questions of their colleagues at clinical labs.  


It’s very difficult to change a deeply embedded dogma and to even comprehend the reasons behind a widespread reluctance to change.  But as people who are suffering and desperately in need for the status quo to change, the first step is to become educated, start conversations and ask probing questions.  As Paul Kelly said (or sang)—“from little things big things grow”.

What the world leading experts are saying about UTI testing

“That’s another myth—the fact that infections are present only when the bacteria are present at 10^5 or greater. And that was never the intent of Kass’ original report. The amount of bacteria present in urine in people that have UTI varies throughout the 24-hour clock. When you get up in the morning and the urine has been concentrated during the night, sure it can be 10^5. But at 11 o’clock when you’ve had your coffee and urinated a few times, it can be 10^2 and that’s also significant. But labs aren’t culturing at 10^2 and so I think we miss a lot of true urinary tract infections by setting these cut-off limits based on another dogma that we think needs to be trashed. We basically have to relearn everything about urinary tract because we were misled. Our beliefs were unfounded. We are now, with the new science, realising everything we were taught is probably wrong. The clinicians that we work with are quite distraught over this.”
Dr Paul Schreckenberger (1947–2016), Director of Clinical Microbiology and Professor of Pathology, Loyola University, Chicago USA—American Society for Microbiology, 114th General Meeting, 2014.

“Many women with the appropriate symptoms are dismissed as not suffering from an infection when they do in fact have one. This controversial view is supported by much published literature. I am sorry to record this, because in doing so I identify a worrying deficiency in our diagnostic protocols, but the evidence is out there for everyone to read.”
Professor James Malone-Lee, Emeritus Professor, Nephrology, UCL and Head of the Community LUTS Service, Whittington Hospital, 2016.


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