Fluid Guidelines for Women

Choosing the right liquids is an important part of urinary health for women, and specifically, is important for the prevention and treatment of urinary tract infections. Alcohol passes unchanged through the kidney and into the urine. Alcohol is an energy source that is readily metabolized by bacteria that may colonize the lower urinary tract. The presence of alcohol in the urine functions like gasoline on embers to ignite a clinical episode of bacterial cystitis -- a urinary tract infection.

Most women have experienced urinary tract infections (UTI); they are unpleasant at the least and may lead to more serious health problems when chronic. In the same way, sugars in fruit juices, which usually contain high levels of fructose, will also pass directly from the kidney to the urine. Fructose is an effective food source for bacteria and will also provoke episodes of clinical infection in the colonized, but asymptomatic patient. Women with recurrent UTI should avoid excessive intake of sweet fruits and fruit sugars. Another source of sugar in the bladder occurs in diabetics who have not controlled their sugar levels. Glucose from the bloodstreams ends up in the urine with the same effect on UTI. Organisms like bacteria flourish in a more concentrated medium. If the urine is dilute, there is more free water in the fluid around the organism than within the organism. Water will diffuse into the bacteria and they will swell up like grains of rice and effectively explode. Water should be the drink of choice for women who suffer from recurrent urinary tract infections. Water will effectively dilute the urine and reduce the concentration of organisms in the urine.

While water reduces the concentration of the urine and prevents UTI, cranberry juice may help prevent UTI. Research has shown that drinking cranberry juice regularly can help prevent UTI. A study conducted by scientists at Rutgers University has found that the concentrated tannins from cranberry juice prevent E.Coli bacteria, the main culprits in UTIs, from adhering to the cells that line the urinary tract. The scientists believe that the substance blocks the growth of the part of the bacteria that is necessary for them to stick to the walls of the bladder and kidney, a crucial step in infection.

Blueberries also contain the concentrated tannins, but many other foods tested, including lemons, oranges, apples, bananas, and carrots do not.