What are UTIs?
Drinking water can help your body flush out your urinary tract before or after you have a UTI (urinary tract infection). While UTIs can often go away without you taking antibiotics, many times they do not. Depending on how severe your UTI is or what your past history with UTIs is, you may or may not want to seek medical attention for your UTI.
UTI stands for urinary tract infection. It describes when your urinary system gets infected. The infection can be present in your urethra, kidneys, or bladder. Urine is typically a bacteria-free liquid that your body produces to get rid of waste and excess water. However, when you have a UTI, your urine has bacteria in it which carries the bacteria to more parts of your body or urinary system.
UTIs are usually caused by the bacteria E.coli and though anyone can get one, they are most common in women. While there are cases of mild UTIs, most doctors recommend that you treat any type of UTI swiftly and with antibiotics. This is because there is always a risk that you could develop a bladder or kidney infection.
The symptoms of a UTI often manifest as the following:
- Pressure in the pelvis
- Need to urinate often
- Painful urine
- Blood in the urine
- Strange urine color or odor
- Pain during sex
If you go to the doctor because you believe that you have a UTI they will likely give you a urine test and examine the blood cells and bacteria in the urine sample, They will also culture the urine in order to find out what specific kind of bacteria is there. Most people will then receive antibiotics and their UTI symptoms will go away very soon.
If you keep getting UTIs or the medicine that the doctor gives you doesn’t work, you will most likely have to get further testing to see if there is an underlying condition that is causing the problem.
How much water should I drink to get rid of UTI?
While the effects of drinking water to flush out or get rid of UTIs is not proven, there has been a link between drinking over 2.2 liters of water daily and a decreased risk for UTIs. Not all of this water needs to come from drinking. Some can be from the water found in fruits or vegetables. One study discovered that women who drank the full 2.2 liters of water daily had a fifty percent less chance of getting UTIs.
When you have a UTI, you should drink extra water on top of the recommended amount. Doing this will make your urine less concentrated and provide a better avenue for the bacteria to leave your body. Try to avoid caffeinated or carbonated drinks during this time. They can irritate the bladder.
If you have the need to urinate, always follow it. Urinating frequently is a great way to let the infection leave your body quickly. If you are in pain at all, take a hot bath or take an over-the-counter pain medication.
How long does it take for a UTI to go away without antibiotics?
Most medical sources say that while drinking water can help and prevent flushing out an infection in the urinary system, it doesn’t always. In fact, it usually does not go away without antibiotics. Left untreated, your UTI could lead to some unwanted consequences.
Some of the consequences of untreated UTIs are:
- Repeated UTIs. Often, not properly treating your UTI can lead to recurrent UTIs. This is a cause for concern if you have three or more UTIs in six months or more than four UTIs every year.
- Kidney damage. If your UTI turns into a kidney infection, this could lead to permanent kidney damage.
- Pregnancy risks. Untreated UTIs increase the risk for underweight infants and premature births.
- Narrowing of the urethra. In men, a history of repeated UTIs can lead to a narrowing of their urethra (the tube that allows itinerant to pass out of the body).
- Sepsis (blood poisoning). This is a very severe, life-threatening complication of kidney infections.
You can reduce the risks of getting UTIs by drinking water but also by doing the following:
- Drinking cranberry juice. While there is no conclusive evidence suggesting that cranberry juice prevents UTIs, there is nothing to indicate that it is harmful. On the contrary, acidity is believed to help your urinary system’s pH levels and fight the infection.
- Be careful with how you wipe. One reason women are believed to get UTIs more often than men is the proximity of the vagina and urethra to the anus. Therefore, after you urinate and produce a bowel movement, make sure to wipe yourself from front to back to avoid an infection from cross-contamination.
- Flush out bacteria after sex. Make sure to urinate directly after you have sexual intercourse. This will help your bladder flush out any bacteria it may have received from sex.
- Be selective with your products. For example, using sprays or feminine products in your genital area can irritate your body and cause infections.
- Explore birth control methods. Certain types of diaphragms and condoms can cause infection. If you find you have repeated UTIs, switching out your birth control method can be a great place to start investigating what may cause them.
Health Solutions From Our Sponsors
Cleveland Clinic: "Urinary Tract Infections."
Harvard Health Publishing: "More Water, fewer UTIs?"
Mayo Clinic News Network: "Women's Wellness: Drink water to fight those urinary tract infections."
MyHealth.Alberta.ca: "Urinary Tract Infection (UTI in Women: "Care Instructions."
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