Drink­ing enough water could be key to avoid­ing uri­nary tract in­fec­tions

The Borneo Post - Nature and health - - Teens -

WOMEN plagued by re­cur­rent uri­nary tract in­fec­tions (UTIs) may look no far­ther than their kitchen tap for re­lief, a new study sug­gests. Re­searchers found that women who drank plenty of water had a sig­nif­i­cant re­duc­tion in their odds for a re­cur­rence of the com­mon in­fec­tions. “This study pro­vides con­vinc­ing ev­i­dence that in­creased daily in­take of water can re­duce fre­quent UTIs,” said lead re­searcher Dr Thomas Hooton. He’s clin­i­cal pro­fes­sor of medicine in the divi­sion of in­fec­tious dis­eases at the Univer­sity of Mi­ami. Water ap­pears to work its magic “pre­sum­ably via the flush­ing ef­fect of in­creased urine vol­ume, but there may be other ef­fects we are not aware of,” Hooton said in a univer­sity news re­lease. One spe­cial­ist in women’s health said the UTI-fight­ing ben­e­fits of hy­drat­ing with H2O have long been sus­pected, but not con­firmed in a clin­i­cal trial un­til now. “Ask anyone who’s had even one UTI, they are no fun,” said Dr Jill Rabin, who helps di­rect Women’s Health Ser­vices at North­well Health in New Hyde Park, New York. “In this study, women were in­cluded if they’d had three or more episodes in the prior year – def­i­nitely painful and life-dis­rupt­ing,” noted Rabin, who wasn’t in­volved in the new study. “Drink­ing more water to im­prove one’s health is prob­a­bly safe and, if tap is used, pretty in­ex­pen­sive,” she added. “Pro­duc­ing ad­di­tional urine– and thus increasing void­ing fre­quency– may raise one’s aware­ness of the im­por­tance of keep­ing the blad­der as empty as pos­si­ble, which can help re­duce UTIs.” The new trial in­cluded 140 younger, pre-menopausal women in Europe who had all ex­pe­ri­enced high num­bers of re­cur­rent UTIs. Their to­tal daily fluid in­take at the start of the study to­talled less than six 8-ounce glasses per day. Dur­ing the year-long trial, half of the women drank just over six cups more each day of water, in ad­di­tion to their reg­u­lar daily fluid in­take. In­take re­mained the same for the other half of women. The re­duc­tion in UTI fre­quency for those who drank the ad­di­tional water was sig­nif­i­cant. While the av­er­age num­ber of UTIs dur­ing the study pe­riod was 3.2 for women who did not in­crease their water in­take, it fell to 1.7 for those women whose in­take rose, the find­ings showed. There was also a sig­nif­i­cant re­duc­tion in an­tibi­otic use among the women who drank more water. An­tibi­otics are the main treat­ment of UTIs, and cut­ting down on the overuse of an­tibi­otics is key to curb­ing the emer­gence of mi­crobes re­sis­tant to the drugs. Hooton said the trial was long over­due. “While it’s been widely as­sumed that in­creased water in­take helps to flush out bac­te­ria and re­duce the risk of re­cur­rent UTI, there has been no sup­port­ing re­search data show­ing such a ben­e­fi­cial ef­fect of water,” he said. The study did not de­ter­mine the ideal amount of daily water in­take to re­duce the risk of UTIs, or whether boost­ing water in­take would help women who are at a lower risk of re­cur­rent UTIs than the group cho­sen for this trial. Dr El­iz­a­beth Kavaler is a urol­ogy spe­cial­ist at Lenox Hill Hospi­tal in New York City. She said the trial high­lights the no­tion that “water is the pre­ferred bev­er­age for over­all blad­der and kid­ney health.” She added that “the amount that we each need de­pends on the en­vi­ron­ment, ac­tiv­ity level and diet.” The study was pub­lished on­line in JAMA In­ter­nal Medicine.

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