As we all know, water is the elixir of life. But according to recent research, it may also be the elixir of avoiding future bladder problems — including painful urinary tract infections (UTIs).
An October 2018 study published in JAMA Internal Medicine looked at 140 healthy women with repeat bladder infections. Researchers divided the women into two groups, and had the first group add 1.5 extra liters of water (about six 8-ounce glasses) to their daily intake. Meanwhile, the second group drank their usual volume of fluids. In terms of "usual volume," the participants reported theirs as being less than 1.5 liters of fluid daily. As it turned out, the women who drank 1.5 additional liters experienced 48 percent fewer repeat bladder infections than the women who made no changes to their water intake.
"That's a significant difference," said senior author Yair Lotan, MD, in a press release. "These findings are important because more than half of all women report having bladder infections, which are one of the most common infections in women."
According to Dr. Lotan, this is especially crucial due to the fact that more than a quarter of women experience a secondary bladder infection within six months of an initial infection. And it's no wonder why women want to avoid this. After all, acute uncomplicated cystitis — a common type of UTI — includes painful urination, a frequent urgency to "go," and sometimes even blood in the urine. Talk about a day-ruiner!
Hearing that one of the best ways to prevent a UTI might be drinking more water may not come as much of a surprise to you. After all, this helpful pointer has been passed down from mothers to their daughters for years. But now, it seems like researchers actually have scientific evidence that this method is an effective way to ward off recurring infections — possibly even cutting their frequency in half. Experts think the reason water might prevent UTIs is because it helps to reduce bacteria and to limit the ability of bacteria to attach to the bladder.
So in other words: There's never been a better time to break out your cutest water bottle and fill it all up — again and again throughout the whole day.
The National Institutes of Health report that upwards of 50 percent of women will get a UTI at least once during their lifetime — and one in four will deal with repeat infections, the National Institute of Diabetes and Digestive and Kidney Diseases says. With more than 10 million doctor visits being the result of a UTI every year, it could be said that many glasses of water a day keeps the doctor away.