Anyone who has ever experienced the discomfort of a UTI (Urinary Tract Infection) will know how darned unpleasant they can be.
And you’ll likely do everything and anything you can to prevent them.
But while women are constantly being told to chug the water to keep UTIs at bay, there has been little evidence to prove that it actually works.
A randomised trial has found that women who do drink more water, do in fact suffer fewer infections.
The study, published in JAMA Internal Medicine, studied 140 premenopausal women experiencing recurrent cystitis who all drank less than 1.5l of water a day.
Some of the women were asked to continue with their usual water intake while others were encouraged to drink an additional 1.5 Litres of water.
The results revealed that cystitis episodes were significantly less frequent in the women who drank more water for 12 months compared with those who stuck to their usual intake.
The women who stuck to their existing fluid intake averaged 3.2 urinary infections in one year, but those who drank extra water averaged just 1.7.
“This study is the first randomised clinical trial to evaluate increased hydration for prevention of recurrent cystitis in women,” study authors explained.
“We demonstrated that increasing daily water intake over a 12-month period resulted in an approximately 50% reduction in frequency of cystitis recurrences and a similar reduction in use of antimicrobial regimens.
“In addition, there were significant increases in days to first cystitis recurrence and between episodes.”
Commenting on the findings lead author, Dr. Thomas M. Hooton, a professor of clinical medicine at the University of Miami told NY Times: “We don’t know what proportion of recurrent infections are in people who are low-volume drinkers. But we can now say there are data that show that if you want to reduce your U.T.I. risk, drink more fluids.”
UTIs are usually caused by bacteria from the gut entering your urinary tract. There are two different types of infection, lower and upper.
Lower UTIs affect either the bladder or the uretha, while upper UTIs, which can be serious if left untreated, cause infections in the kidneys and the ureters (the tubes connecting your bladder to your kidneys).
Those who have ever had a UTI will appreciate that both types cause a whole host of nasty symptoms including a burning feeling when you pee, an urgent need to go to the loo and cloudy, unpleasant-smelling urine.
Upper UTIs can also cause additional symptoms, including a high temperature, pain in your sides or back, and sickness.
The NHS website recommends seeing your GP any time you have symptoms – especially those associated with an upper UTI.
Your doctor may prescribe a course of antibiotics, and it can take between three to five days for the infection to clear completely.
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