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Further Proof that What You Drink Can Affect Your Urinary Health

Thursday, July 11th, 2013

Urinary health is a bit of a tricky subject for some women to discuss, but it can be one of the biggest issues that many women face throughout their lives. Most women will endure issues such as Urinary Tract Infections (UTIs) or urinary incontinence at some point during their lives, and it is important for women to have a healthy dialogue with their doctor about the ways that they can prevent and treat problems such as UTIs when they occur.

There has long been a consensus among doctors that the amount of fluid intake that a woman has day-to-day, can affect the healthy of her bladder, kidneys, and urinary tract. One of the most important things that a woman can do to maintain her health is to be certain that she is drinking the recommended amount of water throughout the day. However, a new study is showing that the types of fluids a woman takes into her body plays as important of a role in preventing and treating UTIs as the amount of fluid that she drinks.

Caffeine and drinks high in sugar such as sodas are one of the biggest risk factors for both men and women for experiencing urgency symptoms and UTI symptoms. This is in addition to the elevated risks of obesity and diabetes that come with drinking sugary sodas. On the other hand, certain types of fruit juices such as orange and grapefruit may reduce the symptoms of UTIs.   In this observational study, the ingestion of citrus juices had a weak link for significance regarding an actual improvement in lower urinary tract infections or the prevention of a urinary tract infections. Citrus juice ingestion showed more promise in men compared to women.  Recent studies have also debunked the idea of drinking cranberry juice to prevent urinary tract infections.  The best way to reduce the risk of urinary tract infections is to drink more water and refrain from sexual intercourse.  Simple advice, but difficult to follow.

None of this is surprising news for doctors, many of whom have been recommending that women with a history of UTIs avoid caffeinated drinks and sodas, while increasing their water intake, for years. What is probably more surprising is the number of women who still do not know about the effects that caffeine and sugar consumption can have not just on their weight, but on other aspects of their health. This is a clear indicator that more women need to be open about any UTI problems that they may be experiencing so that they can have an open and honest discussion with their doctor about their urinary health. There is nothing to be shy about in this case, especially when such simple measures can be taken to ensure your health.

– Yvonne S. Thornton, M. D., M. P. H.