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The Incredibly Simple Thing You Can Do to Prevent UTIs

Dr. Elizabeth Yuko is the Health Editor at SheKnows. She is a bioethicist and writer specializing in sexual and reproductive health and the intersection of bioethics and popular culture. She is an adjunct professor of ethics at Fordham ...

The surprisingly easy — & cheap — way to help prevent UTIs

Urinary tract infections are always unwelcome, but thanks to new research, we now have a promising — and surprisingly easy — way to help prevent them.

According to a new study, women who are prone to UTIs and drink an additional 3 pints of water each day were nearly half as likely to get future infections than those who did not.

"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. Thomas M. Hooton, lead author of the study and clinical director of the Division of Infectious Diseases, University of Miami School of Medicine, said in a statement. "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."

More: Do You Really Need to Pee Before Sex?

UTIs are just one of the many conditions that disproportionately affect women. This is partially because the urethra is shorter, which makes it easier for bacteria to transfer from the rectum and vagina to the bladder. The reason drinking more water helps is because it not only helps to flush our the harmful bacteria, but it also decreases the concentration of bacteria that ends up in the bladder via the vagina.

More: I Have a Common Bladder Condition No One Talks About, & It's Ruining My Life

These annoying infections are extremely common, with 40 to 60 percent of women developing one during their lifetime. If that wasn't bad enough, a quarter of those women will have repeat infections, the National Institute of Diabetes and Digestive and Kidney Diseases said. According to the National Kidney Foundation, UTIs result in more than 10 million doctor visits a year. It's probably a good time to refill that water bottle now.

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