If you’ve ever had a urinary tract infection, then you know the agony of that terrible burning feeling and relentless need to pee—and you’d probably do anything to avoid getting another.
According to the National Kidney Foundation, 1 in 5 women experiences a UTI at some point in her life. And while men can get them, too (UTIs are the second most common infection), women are much more likely to contract one, says the National Institute of Diabetes and Digestive and Kidney Diseases. That’s because we have a shorter urethra, which makes it all too easy for UTI-causing bacteria to pass through it and invade the bladder. No fair.
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“Our urinary tract system is designed to keep out bacteria; however, these defenses can fail,” says Kelly M. Kasper, MD, an ob-gyn at Indiana University Health. “When that happens, bacteria can grow and multiply and cause infections.”
Drinking plenty of water not only quenches your thirst, but it also wards off UTIs during hot summer months, when many of us don’t hydrate enough. “We should always try to drink at least half our body weight in ounces,” says Stephanie Seitz, ND, a physician at the Southwest College of Naturopathic Medicine. “When we drink plenty of water, we help flush out bacteria that can cause UTIs.”
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