Bladder infections and urinary tract infections are an all too common event, with scientists reporting that 40 to 50 percent of women will get a UTI in their lifetime, and 25% will have a repeat infection. Urinary tract infections can lead to a whole host of problems if left untreated, including serious kidney problems and an increased risk in pregnant women of delivering low birth weight babies.
Almost everyone has heard of the classic UTI remedy, which basically consists of drinking cranberry juice. Some of us even swear by this method. But the actual science behind drinking this juice is muddy at best:
Some studies have shown that compounds in cranberries could possibly help prevent bacteria from infecting the urinary lining, but another study showed the juice had no effect on people who experiencing recurring bladder infections.
Be Like Water
But do not despair! Scientists recently presented a study at IDWeek in San Diego that seemed to show that simply drinking more water can significantly lower your chances of getting a urinary tract infection.
Additionally, drinking more water led to doctors issuing 47 percent less prescriptions for antibiotics. This is a big deal as antibiotics are already over-prescribed, which has many people worried about the chance of super bugs developing that are resistant to all popular antibiotics.
This study was focused on 140 pre-menopausal women in Bulgaria who had a long history of frequent UTIs: the study defined it as more than 3 in the previous year. These women also drank less than a liter and half of water a day (6 cups for reference).
For one year, half of the participants increased their water intake to 3 liters, while the other half didn’t change their hydration habits at all. The women who drank more water astoundingly cut their UTI rates nearly in half!
At the end of the study, those who drank more water got an average of 1.6 infections as opposed to the control group’s 3.1 infections.
Age Old Advice Is Proven Correct
Of course, drinking more water is advice commonly given to patients as a way to reduce the occurrence of UTIs. But this study was able to show that logical advice has real results and can make a huge difference in your health.
Urinary tract infections occur when bacteria enters the urinary tract through the urethra and then begin to multiply in the bladder. The urinary system is designed to handle some of these invaders, but every once in a while bacteria is able to take hold to the bladder walls and begin proliferating. Women have shorter urethras than men, which makes it easier for bacteria to travel up the urethra.
Drinking lots of water helps to flush this bacteria out of the bladder, as well as lowering the concentration of bacteria in the urine. You are basically clearing bacteria out of the bladder, as well as reducing its ability to stick to the walls of your bladder.
So, how much water should you drink in order to combat UTI’s? It’s hard to say definitively, as in the study they only used a 1.5 liter increase, but any increase in hydration should give your body a better chance at fighting of UTI’s before they get too serious.
It’s good to know that age-old doctor advice has solid proof behind it! Turns out some of the best remedies are often the simplest, who knew?
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