Do This Every Day to Keep UTIs at Bay

3 min read  |  October 09, 2017  | 

Forty to 60% of women will develop a urinary tract infection (UTI) during their lifetimes and one in four have a repeat infection, according to the National Institute of Diabetes and Digestive and Kidney Diseases.

The National Kidney Foundation also reports that more than ten million patients visit doctors every year for UTIs. If you are one of the women who get recurring UTIs, you probably dread the common symptoms: an urgent need to urinate and a burning sensation when you do.

A simple thing that you can do daily to cut your risk of getting a UTI by half? Drink more water.

According to a recent study, women at risk of UTIs who increased their water intake by about that much water every day were nearly half as likely to get UTIs as women who did not.

“While doctors have long assumed this is the case and often recommended that women at risk for UTIs increase their fluid intake, it’s never really undergone a prospective trial before,” said Dr. Thomas M. Hooton, lead author of the study and clinical director of Infectious Diseases at the University of Miami Health System.

“It’s good to know the recommendation is valid, and that drinking water is an easy and safe way to prevent an uncomfortable and annoying infection.”

Drinking more fluids increases the rate of flushing of bacteria from the bladder and also likely reduces the concentration of bacteria that enter the bladder from the vagina. This reduces the opportunities for bacteria to attach to cells that line the urinary tract, which is necessary to cause an infection, Dr. Hooton said.

The study included 140 healthy premenopausal women who had at least three UTIs in the last year and reported low daily fluid intake. Half of the women (70) who served as the control group continued their usual daily fluid intake, while the remainder were told to drink 1.5 liters of water a day (about three 16-ounce glasses) in addition to their usual daily fluid intake.

After one year, women in the control group had 3.1 UTIs on average, whereas those in the water group had 1.6 UTIs on average, a 48 percent reduction. As a result, the water group averaged fewer regimens of antibiotics (1.8) than the limited-water group (3.5), a reduction of 47 percent. Reducing the use of antibiotics also helps decrease the risk of antibiotic resistance.

“If a woman has recurrent UTIs and is looking for a way to reduce her risk, the evidence suggests that if she increases the amount of water she drinks and stays with it, she’ll likely benefit,” Dr. Hooton said.

Written by a staff writer at UHealth.

Tags: Dr. Thomas M. Hooton, drinking water, urinary tract infections, UTI

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