A UTI (urinary tract infection) leads to 8 million doctor visits each year in the United States making it the second most common type of infection. UTIs are often treated with antibiotics, but a new study from Bulgaria indicates how much water you drink will make a big difference for both reinfection and prevention. The study showed drinking an extra six cups of water a day reduced antibiotic use by 47% and reinfection rates by 48%.
Why Does Drinking More Water Help?
UTIs affect both sexes, but women tend to get them more due to their anatomy. Typically, an infection occurs when bacteria enter your urethra (the tube urine travels through to exit your body). A UTI can involve any part of the urinary tract from your urethra to your bladder and kidneys. They can be both uncomfortable and painful. A UTI in your urethra or bladder is common and easily treated. However, a UTI that has reached your kidneys can have serious consequences. Researchers speculate that the reason drinking more water may help prevent UTIs is that the extra fluid may reduce bacteria concentration and prevent it from clinging to the bladder.
Tips For Preventing A UTI
- Drink Water – drink lots of fluids every day. Women in the Bulgarian study were drinking about 12 cups of fluids each day by the end of the study.
- Wipe Front to Back – it’s especially important for female hygiene to use the toilet in this manner. This helps prevent bacteria from the anal area from reaching the urethra.
- Talk to Your Doctor – using a diaphragm or spermicidal agent for birth control can increase your risk of a UTI.
- Cranberry Juice – drinking cranberry juice (check the label for juice content percentage) may help relieve the painful symptoms of a UTI.
Symptoms of a UTI can include (often in this order) a frequent urge to urinate, passing only small amounts of urine, a burning sensation during urination, bloody or cloudy urine, and feeling pain in your pelvic area. Please contact your doctor for testing and treatment if you begin experiencing any of these symptoms.