When you get diagnosed with a urinary tract infection (UTI) do you typically start guzzling water to flush it out?
Turns out that you should, according to a study presented at IDWeek 2017. Researchers found that women who regularly get urinary tract infections can reduce their risk of getting another one if they drink six eight-ounce glasses—or 1.5 liters—per day.
The benefits of increased water intake hadn’t been studied and proven until this research, but many doctors already recommend drinking more fluid. Some advise taking probiotics and/or D-mannose supplements as well. They may also recommend drinking cranberry juice. And most of us get the lecture to make sure we pee every time after having sex.
“For younger women, UTIs are still mostly associated with sex and the most important behavioral modification for them is to empty their bladders after sex,” Lisa Dabney, MD, Director of Urogynecology at Mount Sinai West, told HelloFlo.
Dabney said she sometimes recommends to patients with UTIs to drink more water. But women tend to have sensitive bladders, so those that drink large volumes of fluid will have urinary frequency and sometimes more bladder pain.
“I mostly stress to patient to empty their bladder after sex and then increase their fluid intake for the 12 hours or so after sex to flush out the bladder when they are mostly likely to get infections.
Don’t get infections regularly? Dabney adds that you don’t have to guzzle too much water beyond normal.
“They will just end up with frequent trips to the toilet,” she added.
About 25 percent of women will have more than one UTI throughout their lives. Women are more prone to the infections because they have a shorter urethra than men, which makes it easier on bacteria to reach their bladders.
As part of the research, the scientists looked at 140 women under the age of 45 who had at least three UTIs a year. Typically, each woman drank less than six eight-ounce glasses of water per day. During the study, half drank about 11 glasses a day; the other half didn’t drink any more water than usual. After a year, the women that drank more water had only 1.5 UTIs instead of the usual three. They also noted that the more hydrated women wound up taking fewer antibiotics—always good to lower our chances of antibiotic resistance.