Anyone who’s ever gotten stuck with a urinary tract infection probably isn’t jonesing for an encore: UTIs are painful, give you that uncomfortable feeling of having to pee (like all the time!), and it’s common for them to keep on coming back. Well, good news: Recent research shows that increasing your daily water intake could make you half as likely to get an infection.
Before diving into the stats, first it’s important to know why ladies are the lucky beings who have the most problems with UTIs. Since women have a shorter urethra than men, it’s pretty easy for UTI-causing bacteria to spread from the rectum and vagina to the bladder. And, that’s why drinking H2O is so important.
“Drinking water is an easy and safe way to prevent an uncomfortable and annoying infection,” Dr. Hooton said.
According to lead study author Thomas M. Hooton, MD, drinking more fluids can prevent the bacteria from causing an infection by flushing it out and reducing the concentration that enters the bladder from the vagina. (Cranberry juice, a popularly known UTI remedy, includes antioxidants and anti-inflammatory properties but lacks sufficient statistic backing for being effective. It also often includes a lot of sugar.)
The women in the study who increased their daily water intake to 2.8 liters only had an average of 1.6 UTIs a year compared to the 3.1 average occurrences in women who only drank 1.2 liters.
“While doctors have long assumed this is the case and often recommended that women at risk for UTIs increase their fluid intake, it’s never really undergone a prospective trial before,” Dr. Hooton said. “It’s good to know the recommendation is valid and that drinking water is an easy and safe way to prevent an uncomfortable and annoying infection.”