Can You Get A UTI From Not Drinking Enough Water?
Urinary tract infections, UTIs for those painfully familiar, create a cycle of discomfort by encouraging an increased urine output while simultaneously making urination a painful experience that can make it feel like the urinary system is on fire. Several things can cause UTIs, but is a deficiency in fluid intake one of those causes?
The Relationship Between Water Intake and UTIs
When asked how to prevent a UTI, it’s more accurate to answer drinking enough water—drinking less water doesn’t bring an increased risk as much as drinking more water can be a prevention factor for a common UTI among women called recurrent cystitis.
Cystitis is the medical term for bladder infections and women are more likely to experience these due to their anatomy. This kind of UTI is usually treated with antibiotics taken for 3-to-5 days after prescription, but a 2018 study showed that women who drank plenty of water stopped needing antibiotics before women who didn’t.
The recommended amount of fluid for people who have biological traits considered to be female is 9 cups daily. That fluid doesn’t need to come directly from water. Anything with water in it, from tea and coffee to fruits and vegetables, will hydrate the body. Water is the best, simplest form of hydration, though.
That same study showed that women who experience recurrent infections of the bladder but stay hydrated cut their returning bouts of cystitis by 50%.
Causes of UTIs
One uncomfortable, possibly painful bathroom issue causing another may seem impossibly unfair, but we’re talking about waste here—you should expect it to play dirty. Constipation becomes a risk factor for UTIs thanks to the amount of time waste is spending in your body. It gives bacteria a larger window to breed and makes it harder to completely expel waste from the bladder, making you more susceptible to UTIs.
Sexual intercourse brings bacteria close to the urethra opening, increasing the risk of infection if bacteria enter the body. Cut this risk down by urinating after intercourse.
Certain contraceptives, specifically spermicides and diaphragms, can also increase the risk of UTIs.
Holding It In
Constipation is a risk factor for UTIs due to the amount of time bacteria gets to spend hanging out in your body, and the same holds true for holding in urine.
Try to expel your liquid waste at least every 6 hours. This shouldn’t be difficult if you have normal bathroom habits—just listen to your body and go when you need to go. This will expel bacteria before it can multiply in your bladder and cause an infection.
If you’re taking medications for allergies or cold/flu, be mindful of your bathroom schedule and drink more water if you think you should be visiting the bathroom more. These sorts of medicines are antihistamines, which can make you pee less.
Wearing tight clothing, especially during workout sessions, can create a hostile environment for bodies with vaginas. They’ll hold in bacteria that breed well in these sorts of conditions.
Wearing cotton underwear may also help reduce the risk of UTIs.
Symptoms of UTIs
You shouldn’t ignore any urge to urinate, but if you’re experiencing a persistent, strong urge to go to the bathroom that feels like it’s beginning to interfere with your concentration or quality of life, your body may be trying to tell you about its UTI. This urge is often joined by a burning sensation when urine leaves the body. To further compound matters, a smaller amount of urine than usual may be passed when you’re experiencing a UTI, meaning that visits to the bathroom will become more frequent. These three symptoms can combine to become a very bad time.
Speaking of pee, urine expelled during a UTI may appear cloudy or give off a strong smell. It may also appear pink, red or syrupy. This is a sign that blood is in the urine.
In women, UTIs can cause pain in the pelvic area, especially in its center and around the pubic bone.
Irregularities in Blood Sugar
Not providing the body with a steady (and healthy) amount of sugar can make it more susceptible to infection, particularly UTIs. These changes in blood sugar can cause UTIs, but they can also make UTIs into a symptom of something else. If your UTI is accompanied by high cholesterol, tingling, numbness or increased hunger, it’s a good idea to see a doctor. These are all indicators of undiagnosed diabetes.
How to Prevent UTIs
As the aforementioned study states, getting the recommended amount of water daily goes a long way when attempting to prevent recurrent UTIs. Many sources will cite cranberry juice as another prevention method. While it doesn’t hurt to drink it, there’s also no scientifically proven link between cranberry juice and UTI prevention.
In order to avoid introducing bacteria into the urinary tract, wipe from front to back to keep waste away from the urethra and vagina. Also, as mentioned before, pee after intercourse and avoid potentially troublesome contraceptives. Other feminine products that may cause irritation, like douches, deodorants and some powders, should also be kept away from the urethra.
It’s just as important to treat a UTI. If they’re allowed to persist in women, they can lead to kidney infections. If they’re left untreated in men, they can narrow the urethra.
Maintain Optimal Hydration with DripDrop and Save 25%
Keeping your body supplied with the right levels of hydration can be difficult during a normal day, let alone a day when a UTI has you running back and forth from the bathroom, painfully expelling urine only to repeat the process soon after. Drinking a lot of water will help the body combat the waste that made you unwell while that hydration will have other positive effects, like lowering blood pressure and improving mood (something you may be having trouble with considering the circumstances).
Supplementing that hydration with a DripDrop packet adds three times the number of electrolytes than a sports drink. Electrolytes are substances that assist the body with everything from communication and oxidation to immune functions, so they may give you the boost you need to kick a UTI to the curb.
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