Drinking more water reduces risk of UTIs

Image: Getty Images
Image: Getty Images

A urinary tract infection (UTI) affects part of the urinary tract, with symptoms including pain with urination, frequent urination and feeling the need to urinate despite having an empty bladder.

UTIs tend to be more common in women than men, because the urethra is shorter, meaning it is easier for bacteria to travel from the rectum and vagina to the bladder.

But research findings reported by the Infectious Diseases Society of America has found that women who increased their water intake by about 1.5 litres every day were nearly half as likely to get UTIs as women who did not.

For the study, academics analysed 140 healthy pre-menopausal women who had at least three UTIs in the last year and reported low daily fluid intake. Half of the women who served as the control group continued their usual daily fluid intake, while the remainder were told to drink 1.5 litres of water a day 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 per cent reduction. As a result, the water group averaged fewer regimens of antibiotics than the limited-water group, a reduction of 47 per cent.

"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 lead author Dr. Thomas M. Hooton, clinical director of the Division of Infectious Diseases at University of Miami School of Medicine. "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."

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