A new study has shown that drinking more water helps women prevent repeat Urinary Tract Infections (UTIs), according to Cosmopolitan.
The study found that women with a history of recurring UTIs – which the American College of Obstetricians and Gynecologists (ACOG) determines as an infection that comes back more than twice over the course of one year – experienced fewer repeat infections when they drank an extra six cups of water per day.
The 12-month study was organized by a team of researchers based in Texas, Florida, and France, who set out to find how exactly fluid consumption affects UTI risk. Researches followed 140 women who suffered from recurrent UTIs and reportedly consumed less than 1.5 liters (around six cups) of water per day.
Half of the women then had to drink an extra six cups of water daily, while the others were asked to carry on without any lifestyle changes. After a year of research, “the low-fluid intake group reported 216 UTIs, while the women who drank more reported 111 infections,” as per Cosmopolitan.
This practice has been recommended by doctors since the dawn of time (or modern medicine, at least!), but there wasn’t any scientific proof that it actually worked. Now, the study’s authors said that this is just a start when it comes to determining exactly how to prevent UTIs.
“Increased water intake is an effective antimicrobial-sparing strategy to prevent recurrent cystitis in premenopausal women at high risk for recurrence who drink low volumes of fluid daily,” they concluded in their paper, which was published Monday in JAMA Internal Medicine.
Around 50 percent of women will get a urinary tract infection at some point in their lives, and up to 70 percent will experience another one within the same year. And according to Business Insider, women also get UTIs up to 30 times more often than men.
A UTI is usually characterized by a burning sensation felt when peeing, which occurs after harmful bacteria find their way up the urethra. Experts say that other ways of preventing urinary tract infections are: wiping front to back, peeing before and after intercourse, wearing breathable underwear, and not holding the pee.
The study was funded by Danone, the company that makes the Evian H20 water bottles used during the survey. But lead author, professor of clinical medicine at the University of Miami Dr. Thomas Hooton, said that tap water works too.
“There’s no reason to think that plain old tap water wouldn’t be just as effective. We can now say there are data that show that if you want to reduce your UTI risk, drink more fluids,” he told the New York Times.