The Easy & Inexpensive Thing You Can Do Starting Today to Prevent UTIs

Oct 2, 2018 at 11:35 a.m. ET
Glass of water on blue background.
Image: Pongsak Tawansaeng/EyeEm/Getty Images.

At this point, we all know water is good for us, and we should be drinking plenty of it. Not only does it keep you hydrated, but it also helps your skin, digestive system and brain function too. Now, thanks to a new study, we know that it also helps keep urinary tract infections at bay as well. 

The research, published in the Journal of the American Medical Association, found that women who drank an additional 1.5 liters of water a day — on top of their regular intake — for one year were 50 percent less likely to get another urinary tract infection than those who drank less than that amount.

More: Wondering If You Have a UTI? Here Are the Symptoms

The authors also note that at least half of women are at risk for getting a UTI at some point in their lifetime, and treating UTIs accounts for 15 percent of all antibiotic use. The idea here is that by taking preventative measures like drinking water, it will decrease the number of people who have to take antibiotics — which is good news considering increasing levels of antibiotic resistance. 

So why does water help? According to the researchers, drinking more water means you're peeing more, which flushes out more bacteria from the bladder. While drinking plenty of water has long been used as a way to prevent and treat UTIs, this was the first randomized clinical trial to test this. 

More: The Incredibly Simple Thing You Can Do to Help Prevent UTIs

Another thing you should know about this study is that it was funded by Danone, a large conglomerate that owns bottled water brands like Evian and Volvic. However, the study's accompanying editorial written by Dr. Deborah Grady of the University of California, San Francisco, who is also deputy editor for JAMA, noted that any water — including your local tap water — will have the same effect as long as it's safe. So drink up!

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