While both men and women can experience a urinary tract infection, women are 10 times more likely to have this condition due to the shorter urethral canal. When you experience this condition, you can experience painful symptoms like burning during urination, cramping in the abdomen and a feeling of urgency when you urinate. Drinking more fluids can be one way to reduce these painful symptoms -- but it's important to choose the right ones.
When you experience a UTI, your physician will recommend drinking lots of fluids to flush UTI-causing bacteria through your urethral tract. The goal is to drink hydrating fluids -- like six to eight glasses of filtered water -- for maximum fluid output. Your physician also may recommend drinking unsweetened cranberry or blueberry juices, which help prevent bacteria from binding to your bladder.
When you have a UTI, drinking sugar-sweetened drinks like fruit juices, sports drinks and other sweetened beverages can have adverse effects. Because you may be experiencing adverse symptoms like cramping and diarrhea, sugar-containing foods can contribute to or aggravate these symptoms. Also, orange juices are high in acids, sugars and spice, which can disturb your bladder, causing pain and discomfort. If you drink juices, look for ones that are 100 percent fruit juice or are unsweetened.
Caffeine is a natural stimulant in your body. Drinking sodas, coffee, tea or energy drinks when you have a UTI can stimulate your digestive and urinary tract -- not a good idea when your goal is to soothe instead. Caffeine-containing beverages like coffee also can have a dehydrating effect as well. These drinks also are problematic because they can cause the sudden need to urinate. If you are not in a position to urinate immediately, the longer the urine stays in your bladder, the more likely bacteria are to multiply.
Like caffeine, alcoholic beverages can stimulate the bladder. They also act as a natural diuretic, which can lead to urgent urination symptoms. Beer, wine and liquor have a dehydrating effect on the body. If your body becomes dehydrated, your urine becomes concentrated with salts that irritate your bladder and can aggravate urinary tract infection symptoms.
- University of Maryland Medical Center: Urinary Tract Infection in Women
- National Kidney and Urologic Diseases Information Clearinghouse; What I Need to Know About Urinary Tract Infections; August 2007
- Medline Plus; Urinary Tract Infection - Adults; September 2010
- McKinley Health Center at the University of Illinois; Urinary Tract Infections in Women; October 2008