Drinking Plenty of Water Could Ward Off UTIs in Women


A new study presented at IDWeek 201 suggest that sufficient intake of water might reduce the risk of urinary tract infection (UTI) in women who are more prone to the disease. Women who increased their water intake were ~50% less likely to get UTIs compared to women who did not.  

Thomas M. Hooton, clinical director of the Division of Infectious Diseases, said, “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. It is good to know the recommendation is valid, and that drinking water is an easy and safe way to prevent an uncomfortable and annoying infection."

Women have the shorter urethra, because of which the bacteria to enter the bladder easily. Therefore, women are at higher risk of UTIs than men. More fluid intake could increase the rate of bacterial flushing from the bladder and thereby reduces the concentration of bacteria in the bladder. This reduces the opportunities for bacteria to attach to cells that line the urinary tract, which is necessary to cause an infection, Dr. Hooton explains.

According to the National Institute of Diabetes and Digestive and Kidney Diseases, about 40–60% of women would develop a UTI during their lifetimes and 25% women have a recurrent infection. UTIs causes more than 10 million doctor visits a year, according to the National Kidney Foundation.??

The researchers enrolled 140 healthy premenopausal women who had at least three UTIs in the previous year and reported low daily water intake. Around 70 women were considered as a control group who continued their usual fluid intake, and the rest were made to drink 1.5 liters of water per day along with their usual fluid intake. After a year, the researchers could find 48% reduction in the UTI in the water group when compared to the control group, with an average UTI occurrence of 1.6 and 3.1, respectively.

As a result, the water group averaged fewer regimens of antibiotics (1.8) than the limited-water group (3.5), with 47% of reduction. After a year follow-up, the researchers could find an increased daily water intake of women in water group from 1.5 liters to 2.8 liters, while there was no increase in the amount of water taken by the control group.

If a woman suffers from repeated UTIs and intended to manage the risk of the infections, the present study would be a shred of evidence to increase the water intake, and that could benefit them in reducing the risk, Dr. Hooton concluded.