(Natural News) It is generally recommended to drink at least eight glasses of water a day. However, a study found that it is better to drink more water, especially in postmenopausal women. The study, which was published in the journal JAMA Internal Medicine, showed that postmenopausal women who drink an additional 1.5 liters every day cut their risk of a bladder infection, such as cystitis, by 48 percent.
Cystitis, or the inflammation of the bladder, is a type of urinary tract infection (UTI). It can be painful and annoying, and it can lead to a serious health problem if the infection spreads to the kidneys. A person with acute, uncomplicated cystitis may experience these symptoms: painful or difficulty in urination, a feeling of a full bladder, an urgency or frequency to urinate, tenderness in the lower abdominal area, and blood in the urine. In most cases, cystitis is caused by a bacterial infection. Cystitis may also develop as a reaction to certain drugs, radiation therapy, or potential irritants, including feminine hygiene spray, spermicidal jellies, or long-term use of a catheter. It may also develop as a complication of another illness.
Researchers at the University of Texas (UT) Southwestern Medical Center reached this conclusion after analyzing a 12-month study of otherwise healthy women with a history of repeated infections. The participants in the study reported their typical daily intake of water, which was less than 1.5 liters (l) or about six 8-ounce (oz) glasses.
For a year, half of the women continued to drink their usual water intake, while the other half drank an additional 1.5 l of water together with whatever they were already drinking normally.
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Results of the study revealed that 93 percent of women in the water group, or those who drank more water, experienced two or fewer episodes of cystitis, in comparison to 88 percent of women in the control group, who had three or more episodes. Women in the control group experienced more than half of the cystitis episodes experienced by those in the increased water group. Also, the first cystitis episode in the water group occurred later than that in the control group. Moreover, the use of antimicrobial treatments for cystitis also decreased in the water group. The researchers believe that drinking more water helps lessen bacteria and limits the ability of bacteria to attach to the bladder.
The findings of the study are important because more than half of the women in the study reported having bladder infections, which are one of the most prevalent infections that occur in women. Within six months of initial infection, more than a quarter of women suffer from a secondary infection. Within a year, about 44 to 77 percent will experience a recurrence.
The increase in water intake could also help reduce the use of antibiotics, which are the commonly used treatment for these infections. Additionally, this could also help control antibiotic resistance.
Other ways to prevent UTIs
There are other natural ways that can help prevent UTIs in addition to drinking more fluids. These include:
- Increasing vitamin C intake
- Drinking unsweetened cranberry juice
- Consuming foods rich in probiotics
- Practicing good bathroom and hygiene habits, such as: avoiding holding urine for too long, peeing after sexual intercourse, avoiding the use of spermicide, and wiping from front to back after using the toilet. (Related: Learn to prevent bladder infections with simple dietary and lifestyle changes (preview).)
- Trying natural supplements that reduce the risk of UTIs, such as D Mannose, bearberry leaf, cranberry extract, or garlic extract.
Read more news stories and studies on preventing bladder infections by going to Infections.news.