The Use of antibiotic for urinary tract infections less frequent in research on recurrent infections.
If you regularly battle with the burning, painful, or urgent symptoms of a urinary tract infections (UTI), which can include frequent urination along with cloudy, smelly, or bloody urine, try drinking a lot more water — about an extra liter (l) and a half.
New research published online on October 1, 2018, in the journal JAMA Internal Medicine found that premenopausal women who drank an extra 1.5 l of bottled water each day had fewer UTIs than a group of women who drank less fluid.
Drink Up for Relief of Urinary Tract Infection (UTI) Symptoms
Lead author Thomas M. Hooten, MD, a professor of clinical medicine at the University of Miami School of Medicine in Florida, and colleagues analyzed the results of 140 women in Europe who had frequent bouts of UTIs and who said they drank six or fewer 8-ounce (oz) glasses of water each day. Over a year, half the women continued to drink that amount of water, while the other half drank an extra 1.5 l of bottled water along with whatever they were already drinking normally. Before the study began, the group collectively averaged 3.3 UTIs during the prior year.
After 12 months of the study, the women who drank the extra water reported an average of 1.7 UTIs, while the group who didn’t change their drinking patterns reported an average of 3.2 UTIs.
How Much Water Is Enough to Help Prevent Urinary Tract Infections and Symptoms?
While researchers did not study a dose response, the additional 1.5 l is nearly 51 oz of water, or approximately six to seven extra glasses of water (at 8 oz a glass). Two l of water is about 67 oz of water, or eight 8-oz glasses.
Pour Yourself a Cold One (of Water) to Help Prevent Urinary Tract Infections
The study was funded by Danone Research, a company that sells Evian and other brands of bottled water. Danone supplied bottles of Evian used to provide the extra 1.5 l of water used by the women who drank more water. But Dr. Hooten said that water from a kitchen faucet would also help, as could potentially other beverages, such as coffee, tea, or juice.
“There’s nothing magic about Evian; to my knowledge, tap water would have same effect,” he wrote in an email. “Other fluids are likely also to be beneficial, though those with diuretic effects might require more fluid to have same effect.”
Related: 8 Remedies for Frequent Urination
Less Antibiotic Drugs Means Less Antibiotic Drug Resistance
Prevention of urinary tract infection may not be the only possible benefit of drinking more water. Additionally, the women who drank more water showed “significantly fewer” anti-microbial agents in their bodies, reflecting fewer drugs taken to treat UTIs and potentially a lower risk of developing drug resistance.
“Antibiotic resistance a growing and serious worldwide problem,” Hooten wrote. “Antibiotic use for UTI can contribute to antibiotic resistance in other infections. Resistance is correlated with usage, so we need antibiotics-sparing modalities to prevent infections, to reduce overall antibiotic use and, ultimately, reduce antibiotic resistance.”
Who Is at Risk for Urinary Tract Infections and Recurrent Bladder Issues?
There are several reasons why one person would develop more urinary tract infections than another. These include being female (women have shorter urethras — the tube that carries urine out of the body — than men), not fully emptying your bladder when you pee, having frequent sex, riding a bike often, using certain drugs that treat allergies or colds, using toilet paper from back to front instead of front to back, wearing thongs or other snug undies, having high blood glucose (for those with diabetes), and being in perimenopause or menopause.
Aim to Drink at Least 2 l (67 oz) or Eight 8-oz Glasses of Water, Every Day
The study does not make blanket recommendations on exactly how much extra water to drink, nor do researchers say whether drinking more water can help women who are less likely to develop frequent UTIs in the first place.
Indeed, the researchers write, “We did not perform a dose-response study, so we do not know what increment in daily water intake is sufficient for reducing the risk of UTI. In addition, we do not know whether increased water intake is beneficial in women who are at lower risk for recurrent cystitis or who regularly drink higher quantities of fluid than women in this study.”
Reached directly, Hooten noted that everyone should be drinking adequate fluids daily, and estimates that to be a daily intake of 2 l of water, which is roughly 67 oz, or eight 8-oz glasses.
“It is recommended that we all drink at least 2 l daily of fluids, and probably more in warm climates,” he wrote. “In this study of women who drank low volumes of fluids, adding 1.5 l had a dramatic effect. We can’t say for sure, but it’s reasonable to have as a goal to drink over 2 l daily, and if you are drinking lots of fluids already but still have UTIs, try to drink more and see if you benefit.”