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Need an Escape From UTIs? Wash it Out With Water

Need an Escape From UTIs? Wash it Out With Water

Remember Adam Sandler in Billy Madison? Bill Paxton in True Lies? And, most poignant, Jeremy Blackman in Magnolia? In those movies it’s the males who, finding themselves in some supposedly amusing or heart-felt situations, fail to hold their water (so to speak) and relieve themselves onscreen.

But peeing in your pants because of a urinary tract infection (UTI) is not funny—and is overwhelmingly more common in women than men. Half of all women experience one episode by age 32. Among middle-age folks, women are 30 times more likely to have a UTI than men. And of the 9 to 10 million people each year who see a doctor for those burning, stinging, infections, 84 percent are women.

The standard treatment is antibiotics, but although effective, they can damage your gut biome and fuel antibiotic resistance. And antibiotics don’t keep the infection from returning.

But there’s an easier, healthier way to fight off UTIs. Research from the University of Miami School of Medicine shows that instead of avoiding liquids, you should increase your fluid intake (water is best) to at least 48 ounces daily.

In the study’s group of 140 healthy, premenopausal women, those who upped their water intake to that level reduced the incidence of UTIs by almost 50 percent over the course of a year—also reducing their use of antibiotics by around the same amount.

Medically reviewed in August 2019.

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