To prevent recurrent urinary tract infections (UTIs), women often drink more water. However, this common activity not previously backed up by research.
Now, University of Miami researchers have shown that drinking enough water can halve the risk of developing a UTI in pre-menopausal women.
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Urinary tract infections are more common among women with 50 to 60 percent of all women getting these infections at least once in their life time.
Sexual intercourse may not transmit these infections but may raise the risk of these bladder infections or “acute uncomplicated cystitis”, note the researchers.
Lead study author Dr Thomas Hooton, an infectious disease professor explains that it was thought that water could “flush out” the bacteria, reducing the risk of repeated UTIs.
However, prior to this research, there were no studies to prove that drinking water had any effect, he said.
The study also showed that one in five women are at risk of developing recurrent urinary bladder and tract infections.
The latest study titled, Effect of Increased Daily Water Intake in Premenopausal Women With Recurrent Urinary Tract Infections, was published in the latest issue of the JAMA Internal Medicine.
The team of researchers looked at 140 premenopausal women across Europe who suffered from recurrent UTIs. These women were all in the habit of drinking much less than the recommended amount of water each day.
Over the next year, the researchers ensured that these women were drinking at least six eight-ounce glasses of water per day.
The results were conclusive. They showed that women who drink more water are 50% less likely to develop a UTI.
Women who were inadequately hydrated suffered twice as much from bladder infections over the study period, with an average frequency of 3.2 infections per year compared 1.7 per year for those who drank enough water.
Whilst the study was sponsored by 11 bottled water companies, in a follow up editorial article, Dr. Deborah Grady of the University of California, San Francisco, who is also a deputy editor for JAMA Internal Medicine, said that any safe drinking water can be effective in this case.
Dr. Hooton explains that in the era of antibiotic resistance (the drugs commonly used to treat UTIs), this is an important study.
Increased water intake is an effective antimicrobial-sparing strategy to prevent recurrent cystitis in premenopausal women at high risk for recurrence who drink low volumes of fluid daily.”