How Drinking Water Can Prevent Painful UTIs

Alejandro Miranda-Sousa, M.D., is a Board-certified urologist at Urology Experts, a premier three-location center in Southwest Florida. Recently named a Top Doctor by Castle Connolly Medical Ltd. and a Diplomate of the American Board of Urology, Dr. Miranda-Sousa has written and co-written several award-winning clinical and research papers. Today, he specializes in urinary incontinence, bladder stone prevention, urologic oncology, laser surgery and much more. It is also Dr. Miranda-Sousa’s passion to use the most advanced technology and surgical techniques in all areas of his practice.

Water can Prevent Urinary & Bladder Infections
Dark. Cloudy. Foul-smelling. Bloody. These are probably the very last details people wish to think about when it comes to their urine. But for millions of patients in the U.S. with urinary tract infections (UTIs) and bladder stones, these symptoms have become a painful nightmare. While there are profound differences between the two infections, there is one simple solution that could prevent weeks of doctor visits and sickening trips to the restroom: drinking water.

Drink Plenty of Fluids
Plenty of people have heard their physician say, “drink plenty of fluids,” and the same goes for preventing UTIs and bladder stones. UTIs occur when bacteria grow in the urinary tract, causing stinging, cramps and fevers. With water, accumulated toxins, chemicals and bacteria, as well as the concentration of urine, can be reduced, lowering the chances of a UTI or the recurrence of one. Increasing fluid intake has also been found to prevent urinary bacterial infections in elderly people with incontinence.

Likewise, bladder stones, commonly called vesical calculus or cystoliths, are caused by a build-up of urine and minerals that suggest the bladder has not been completely emptied of urination. This could lead to a UTI if the stone sticks to the wall of the bladder or ureter, causing severe discomfort. Without water, that urge to empty the bladder of urine is just not there.

How Much Water is Enough?
While the appropriate amount of water consumption largely depends on one’s age, gender, size, health, level of activity and environment, two liters of water per day (eight glasses measures out to 1.89 liters), throughout the
day, is standard in preventing bladder stones. Another way to look at this is one quart of water for every 50 pounds of body weight, or three quarts for a 150-pound person. To maintain hydration levels, children and adults should drink fluids in the morning and at regular intervals during the afternoon and evening hours. Dry or hot weather may demand people to drink more water to quench thirst, as opposed to downing large amounts at one time.

To prevent a UTI, aim for eight glasses of water per day as a way of prompting urination once every hour or 1.5 hours. Start with one extra glass for each meal and two extra glasses following sexual intercourse to increase urination, especially in women, as the female urethra is much shorter, making it easier for bacteria to reach the bladder. Then, check the urine. If it is darker than a very pale yellow, it is time to start drinking more water.

Recommended Water-Based Products
Water-based food items such as soups, vegetables, fruits and yogurts can also prevent UTIs and bladder stones. These products should be prepared without added fat, but can include low-fat or nonfat dairy. Fruits and vegetables should also become a part of three low-fat, high-fiber meals, as they are good sources of rich nutrients and fiber, which improves bladder health.

Women need 21 to 25 grams of fiber per day, while men require 30 to 38 grams. In other words, aim for 2 cups of fruit and 2.5 cups of vegetables daily. An exception to the bladder infection-preventing vegetable intake is tomatoes, which contain acid that can irritate the bladder, along with acidic drinks like alcohol and caffeine. When it comes to yogurt, stick to one 8-ounce cup per day. It should be plain with active cultures and without the sugar that feeds “bad” bacteria. Check the “Live Active Culture” seal on the container or the ingredient label before purchasing the product.

While there have been mixed findings about cranberry juice, it is worth a try. Pure, unsweetened and low-sugar cranberry juice is best, since it has a higher cranberry concentration. Avoid cranberry juice cocktail, as it is loaded with added sugar that attracts bacteria. Although some people substitute the juice with extract tablets, these supplements may not have enough of the active, bacteria-preventing ingredient to keep bacteria away from the bladder wall.

Urology Experts
If you think you may have a bladder infection or bladder stones, you can trust the professionals at Urology Experts to get to the root of the problem. Dr. Alejandro Miranda-Sousa and his staff have the urological experience and expertise to help you. Call (239) 226-2727. Online at UrologyExperts.com.

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