Drinking more water daily is a simple but effective way to prevent urinary tract infection (UTI) in women at risk. This is the finding of a new study confirming what has often been recommended by doctors. This is the first time scientists have been able to demonstrate that this age long recommendation is evidence based.
According to the study, women at risk of UTIs that increased water intake by about three glasses daily were significantly less likely than those women that drink less daily.
Dr Hooton, the study’s lead author and clinical director of the Division of Infectious Diseases, University of Miami School of Medicine said:
“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, 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. 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.”
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 helps decrease the risk of antibiotic resistance.
Researchers followed the women throughout the year using visits and telephone calls. They documented that over the course of the study, on average women in the water group increased their daily water intake by 1.15 liters (about 2-1/2 pints) for a total daily fluid intake (including water and other beverages) of 2.8 liters, whereas women in the control group did not increase the amount of water they drank and had a total daily fluid intake of 1.2 liters.
Read More: Is Drinking too much water really dangerous
What are the common symptoms of Urinary Tract Infection?
- Burning sensation when urinating
- Frequent urination
- Sudden urge to urinate
- Passage of cloudy urine
- Fever or chills
If you see any of these symptoms, please seek medical help immediately.
Why are women more likely to get UTI than men?
Women are more prone to urinary tract infection(UTI) than men. According to experts, one out of every two women may get UTI in their lifetime. This is probably due to their shorter urethra is shorter. This is the tube that transports urine from the bladder outside the body making it easier for bacteria (especially E.Coli which thrives in the large intestine) to travel from the rectum to the bladder. If untreated, the infection may spread to the kidney. If you have ever had UTI, you may consider increasing your water intake to prevent another infection.
Apart from increasing water intake, you can also take these steps recommended by Mayo clinic to reduce the risk of infection:
Drink cranberry juice. Although studies are not conclusive that cranberry juice prevents UTIs, it is likely not harmful.
Wipe from front to back. Doing so after urinating and after a bowel movement helps prevent bacteria in the anal region from spreading to the vagina and urethra.
Empty your bladder soon after intercourse. Also, drink a full glass of water to help flush bacteria.
Avoid potentially irritating feminine products. Using deodorant sprays or other feminine products, such as douches and powders, in the genital area can irritate the urethra.
Change your birth control method. Diaphragms, or unlubricated or spermicide-treated condoms, can all contribute to bacterial growth.