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Drinking more water will help women avoid urinary tract infections(UTIs), according to generations of women and now a study in JAMA. Women who added 1.5 liters of water each day to their regular intake of fluids were less likely to get another UTI, than women who drank less than that amount.
“It's estimated 50 percent of UTIs can be treated by drinking a significant amount of fluid alone," says Felecia Fick, a Mayo Clinic urogynecology physician assistant who was not involved in the study. "The extra you're drinking is flushing out the bacteria that are present in the urinary tract."
She adds any type of fluid is fine, but sometimes the more acidic, the better. "There are mixed studies on the benefits of cranberry juice, but Mayo Clinic does recommend trying cranberry juice, cranberry extract, or cranberry pills, as well as water," says Fick.
A UTI is an infection in any part of your urinary system — your kidneys, ureters, bladder and urethra. Most infections involve the lower urinary tract — the bladder and urethra. Women are at greater risk of developing a UTI than are men due to their shorter urethras, and serious consequences can occur if a UTI spreads to your kidneys.
"If a woman has fever, chills, flank pain, kidney stone history, she should also drink a lot of fluid but it is imperative she see a health care provider immediately for a urine culture,” says Ms. Fick. She adds because there could be a kidney infection which is much more serious than an uncomplicated UTI.
UTIs don't always cause signs and symptoms, but, when they do, they may include:
You can take these steps to reduce your risk of UTIs:
When treated promptly and properly, lower UTIs rarely lead to complications. But left untreated, a UTI can have serious consequences.
Complications of a UTI may include: