Increasing daily water intake may half UTI risk in women
Increasing daily water intake by 1.5 L can half the risk of recurrent acute uncomplicated cystitis (rAUC) in women, suggests a study presented at the recent Infectious Disease Week (IDWeek) in San Diego, California, US.
The study involved 140 healthy premenopausal asymptomatic women who experienced at least three episodes of rAUC in the past year and reported taking <1.5 L of fluid daily. The participants were randomized to receive 1.5 L water daily or control (no extra water consumption), in addition to their routine daily fluid intake for 1 year. They were followed up monthly with telephone calls and at 6 and 12 months during clinic visits. [IDWeek 2017, abstract LB-7]
After 1 year, significantly fewer rAUC episodes occurred in the water group compared with the controls (1.6 vs 3.1 episodes), with women taking in additional water daily being half as likely to contract rAUC than those who did not (odds ratio, 0.52; p<0.0001).
Also, the occurrence of first rAUC episode was delayed with additional water intake vs none (mean number of days to first rAUC episode, 148 vs 93 days; p=0.0005). Similarly, there was greater number of days between rAUC episodes in the water group compared with the control group (mean, 143 vs 85 days; p<0.0001).
Consequently, 47 percent fewer antibiotic regimens were needed for rAUC among women with additional water intake than those without (mean, 1.8 vs 3.5; p<0.0001).
“If a woman has recurrent UTIs and is looking for a way to reduce her risk, the evidence suggests that if she increases the amount of water she drinks and stays with it, she’ll likely benefit,” said lead author Dr Thomas Hooton, clinical director of the Division of Infectious Diseases at the University of Miami School of Medicine in Miami, Florida, US. “Drinking water is an easy and safe way to prevent an uncomfortable and annoying infection.”
According to Hooton, part of the reason why women get urinary tract infections more easily than men is because of their shorter urethra, making it easier for bacteria to reach the bladder from the vagina and rectum.
“Drinking more fluids increases the rate of flushing of bacteria from the bladder and also likely reduces the concentration of bacteria that enter the bladder from the vagina,” he explained.