According to researchers, any women can reduce recurrence of urinary tract infections easily just by consuming larger amounts of water on a regular basis. The approach is simple yet effective: removing bacteria in a natural way is also beneficial for other body systems, so the good old advice to increase water intake is now supported by another piece of evidence.
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Urinary tract infections, which are often abbreviated as UTI, are widespread: according to statistics, the average woman has a lifetime risk for UTI of 40-50%. Ladies are more likely to contract them than men are, since the urethra in females is shorter, so microorganisms have a shorter distance to cover to get to the bladder. Recurrent UTIs are also diagnosed often, and the risk increases every time a UTI is contracted. Pregnant women are more likely to have a UTI.
A team of scientists from several research centers carried out a study, in which they found that increasing the amount of water consumed daily can help reduce the number of bladder infections in females who are more likely to contract them. Although the project was funded by Danone, it is not aimed at promotion of a particular product: any drinking water will do.
The researchers analyzed the cases of 140 premenopausal women who came from Bulgaria and were prone to recurrent UTIs. The term “recurrent UTI” has defined as developing more than 3 infections a year. In all of them, water intake was decreased and made up less than 1.5 l a day, or 6 cups. The participants were divided into two groups: in one of them, water intake remained the same, and ladies from the other group increased it by 1.5 l, so the total daily intake was around 3 l. The researchers followed them for one year and then analyzed what changes there were in UTI recurrence. It turned out that those who drank more fluid had their UTI rates cut to 1.6 a year on average, whereas the result in the second group was still around 3.1 infections per year.
The reason why it helps is easy to understand: the more you drink, the more urine your body produces. This extra urine helps remove bacteria from the urethra, so it becomes more difficult for the bacteria to get to the bladder. Flushing out invaders is quite simplistic, but it works, and the way it is done is natural. It’s not that no one knew about it before, but this research is the first to demonstrate how it works in women, and put it into scientific terms.
Sufficient water intake is an issue often raised by health professionals and everyone interested in maintaining body health. Drinking enough fluid is beneficial in a number of ways, and the fact that it can contribute to UTI prevention is another reason to reach for that extra bottle of drinking water. It is also worthy of note that water should be preferred over sports drinks, juices, and sweet drinks – with the latter to be avoided completely due to high amounts of sugar in them.
In the study mentioned above, the researchers found that flushing out bacteria can help avoid taking antibiotics, and in the group of those who increased water intake, the number of prescriptions for antibiotics was reduced by 47%.
The bottom line is that if you are prone to recurrent UTIs, you can try increasing water intake to counter attacks of microbes. In most cases, it is not difficult and does not require significant investments. However, you should remember that drinking a lot of water (really A LOT!) can be dangerous, so consult your doctor if you are not sure how much you should drink.