Simply Drinking Water Prevents UTIs
Node Smith, ND
Most women may instinctively drink more water to prevent recurrent urinary tract infections (UTIs). However, this common practice has never been backed up by research, until now.
Drinking enough water actually cuts the risk of developing a UTI in half
Researchers from University of Miami, have demonstrated that drinking enough water actually cuts the risk of developing a UTI in half in premenopausal women.1
Roughly 50-60 percent of all women experience an infection of the urinary tract at least once in their lifetime
UTIs are more common among women, with roughly 50-60 percent of all women experiencing an infection of the urinary tract at least once in their lifetime. One of the reasons for this discrepancy between UTI rates of men and women is the length of the urethra being much shorter in women than in men, making it easier for bacteria to be introduced into the urinary tract.
Sexual intercourse may raise the risk of developing UTIs
Sexual intercourse may not transmit these infections, but may raise the risk of developing UTIs, due to the introduction of bacteria into the urethra. This is the rationale behind urinating after sexual intercourse for women, to “clean” the opening of the urethra from foreign bacteria.
Urinating more simply prevents bacteria from colonizing
This “flushing out” of the bacteria is the same assumption for the benefit of drinking more water to prevent recurrent UTIs; urinating more simply prevents bacteria from colonizing the lower portion of the urinary tract. But there had not been any studies to prove that drinking water had any effect.
Study looked at 140 premenopausal women
The study looked at 140 premenopausal women across Europe who suffered from recurrent UTIs. All of the women included in the study were in the habit of drinking far less than the recommended amount of water daily. The study followed these women for a year, and ensured that they were drinking at least six 8 oz glasses of water daily.
The findings were clear
Women who drink more water are 50 percent less likely to develop a UTI. Women who were under hydrated in the study suffered from twice as many bladder infections as women who drank enough water – 3.2 infections per year compared to 1.7 infections.
- Hooton TM, Vecchio M, Iroz A, et al. Effect of Increased Daily Water Intake in Premenopausal Women With Recurrent Urinary Tract InfectionsA Randomized Clinical Trial. JAMA Intern Med. Published online October 01, 2018. doi:10.1001/jamainternmed.2018.4204
Node Smith, ND, is a naturopathic physician in Portland, OR and associate editor for NDNR. He has been instrumental in maintaining a firm connection to the philosophy and heritage of naturopathic medicine among the next generation of docs. He helped found the first multi-generational experiential retreat, which brings elders, alumni, and students together for a weekend camp-out where naturopathic medicine and medical philosophy are experienced in nature. Four years ago he helped found the non-profit, Association for Naturopathic ReVitalization (ANR), for which he serves as the board chairman. ANR has a mission to inspire health practitioners to embody the naturopathic principles through experiential education. Node also has a firm belief that the next era of naturopathic medicine will see a resurgence of in-patient facilities which use fasting, earthing, hydrotherapy and homeopathy to bring people back from chronic diseases of modern living; he is involved in numerous conversations and projects to bring about this vision.