Bladder infections are extremely common among women. New research, however, shows that boosting water intake might reduce these infections by almost half.

a woman drinking water

Drinking plenty of water can help keep UTIs at bay.

urinary tract infection (UTI) can affect any part of the urinary tract, including the urethra, bladder, ureters, or kidneys.

A bladder infection is the most common type of UTI.

Approximately half of all women will experience a UTI in their lifetime.

For those who experience this type of infection once, a solid 25 percent can expect to have another later on in life.

Women are likelier to develop a bladder infection than men due to differing anatomy — the female urethra is shorter than that of men, which means that bacteria can reach the bladder more easily.

Also, the urethra opening is closer to the rectum in women, and the rectum houses lots of bacteria. These bacteria are most commonly associated with UTIs.

Bladder infections, when caught early, don’t usually cause serious complications, and they are easily treated with antibiotics.

If not treated, however, they can lead to kidney infections. Symptoms of bladder infections include a burning feeling while passing urine and frequent or intense urges to go to the bathroom, even if there is not a lot of urine to pass.

The new research, which was led by senior study author Dr. Yair Lotan, from the Simmons Cancer Center at the University of Texas Southwestern in Dallas, is now published in the journal JAMA Internal Medicine.

Studying water intake and bladder infections

Prior to the study, the participants reported their usual daily volume of fluid. This was approximately 1.5 liters, or around six 8-ounce glasses.

The scientists divided the volunteers into two groups: they instructed one to drink an additional 1.5 liters of water each day, and they told the other group to consume no additional fluid.