interstitial cystitis

Have you ever had a urinary tract infection (UTI)? The symptoms are unpleasant, to put it mildly. First, you may feel a tremendous urge to pee. And when you do urinate, the burning sensation can be unbearable. So, there you are. You have to keep running to the bathroom and each time you dread the burn. Sometimes there is pelvic pain along with the burning. And when you see pink or red urine you know you are bleeding. Get thee to a physician promptly! And if you have fever and chills, make that double fast. Once you have had one UTI there is a good chance you will end up with recurrent urinary tract infections.

Overcoming Recurrent Urinary Tract Infections:

Recurrent urinary tract infections cause a tremendous amount of pain and frustration. Within the first year of an infection as many as 70% of women will have another one. Doctors prescribe antibiotics to treat these UTIs. As a result, some women may end up taking several courses of antibiotics each year.

That many antibiotics can have unforeseen consequences. The ecology of the digestive tract can be upset. Getting the microbiome back in balance can be challenging, especially if you have to take more antibiotics within a few months. Then there is the whole problem of antibiotic resistance. Anything that women can do to prevent infections would be good for them and for the environment.

Water for Recurrent Urinary Tract Infections:

Now, a study shows that a simple lifestyle change can make an important difference in the number of infections a woman might experience (JAMA Internal Medicine, online, Oct. 1, 2018)  The participants in this study were women who had recurrent urinary tract infections and who normally drank less than six glasses of water daily.

The investigators randomly chose half of the women to continue with their usual water-drinking habits. The other half were asked to double the amount of water they drank.

During the next year, those who increased their water consumption had, on average, 1.7 urinary tract infections. Those who had not increased their water intake had 3.2 infections on average.

The authors of this study offer this convincing observation:

“This study is the first randomized clinical trial to evaluate increased hydration for prevention of recurrent cystitis in women. We demonstrated that increasing daily water intake over a 12-month period resulted in an approximately 50% reduction in frequency of cystitis recurrences and a similar reduction in use of antimicrobial regimens… the beneficial effects observed using water, which is safe, inexpensive, and does not select for antimicrobial resistance, are substantial and important.”

Women who are able to drink two or three liters of water daily may have less trouble with recurrent UTIs and should therefore need fewer antibiotics.

Share your own story about dealing with UTIs in the comment section below.

JAMA Internal Medicine, online, Oct. 1, 2018

Get The Graedons' Favorite Home Remedies Health Guide for FREE

Join our daily email newsletter with breaking health news, prescription drug information, home remedies AND you'll get a copy of our brand new full-length health guide — for FREE!

  1. Georgia

    I began having cystitis at age 19. By age 35, I had cystitis about every six weeks, I.e., except when on antibiotics. My urologist decided on a surgery wherein he made a small vertical incision in the urethra and permanently stitched a flap open so that the urethra would not collapse again. Haven’t had a single problem since he did this – 34 years ago!

  2. Flora

    I need help on how to take D-Mannose. I bought it, but do not know how, etc. to take it. Mine is 500 MG. Please help with how much to take, when, with meals or not, etc. Instructions on bottle say to take three capsules one to three times a day. Please help with missing parts of instructions for taking.

    • RS

      I read about D-Mannose. You need the powder form. You put one teaspoon in a cup of water, stir , and drink. It’s a sugar that eats the E.coli in the urine. Take it several times a day and a couple of days until you have no more symptoms. I tried the pills as that is all our health store carried. It helped, but I finished the bottle and still had problems.

  3. Belinda
    Grand Rapids, Michigan

    After a urologist advised me to order Ellura super cranberry capsules on the web & take one a day, my seven yearly bladder infections decreased to one or two. But when a bladder infection did strike, I suffered from unbearable leg cramps from taking the antibiotics Levaquin, Cipro & Keflex which were prescribed. Then a super doc prescribed Monurol! And it worked like a charm, with no noticeable side effects. Just dissolve a packet in water, drink it & in a few days, no more bladder infection! Have since learned this is the medication many doctors in Europe swear by for bladder infections.

  4. laura b

    d-mannose is the answer! just a few days of taking it will repair and replenish the bladder environment, to help discourage growth of bad bacteria. using antibiotics only makes matters worse in the long run; along with the bad bacteria, the antibiotic also kills the good bacteria.

    • Flora

      Please give dosage, strength of the D-Mannose, how many, how often, take with meals?, etc. Thank you so very much. The D-Mannose I bought is 500 MG. Please help.

      • Mary

        I take two 500 mg capsules 3 times a day with lots of water with or without food. I agree, however, that the powder form works better and faster for me. 1 teaspoon stirred in water with or without food 3 times a day. It is barely sweet, practically tasteless.

  5. Cathy

    I noticed that many mornings, on awakening, I could detect some dampness in my underclothes after sleep, and so I started daily putting on fresh unders just as soon as I wake up, even if I’m not ready to bathe or shower right then. Since I started this, it has noticeably helped to reduce the number of UTIs I have experienced.

  6. Poppy
    Chico, CA

    I almost completely stopped eating added sugar. That is, I might have some if it’s in a restaurant salad dressing, for example, but I’m learning to choose oil and vinegar. I might have some at Christmas dinner or Thanksgiving. I do eat intrinsic sugar. After I almost completely stopped eating added sugar, I stopped having UTIs. I had had them for about 45 years. (Our sex life has happily rolled right on.) I have found it much easier to quit added sugar entirely rather than just try to reduce it. It makes the whole thing so simple. Within a few weeks of quitting, my threshold for a sweet taste plummeted. Even good celery can taste slightly sweet to me now. (Hard to believe, no?)

  7. Patricia
    Oak Grove, OR

    Am I the only person with a ureatheral caruncle? It is when your urethra turns to the outside of your body, leaving you open to germs. After years of bloody UTI’s I was referred to a urologist who took one look at my anatomy and said: “You have a caruncle.” They are, in part, a consequence of no estrogen. The treatment has been premarin cream. I have done well on it but when I have weaned off it, the UTI’s have come back. A nice side effect of the cream has been no more hot flashes.

  8. Someone

    Try drinking half your body weight in ounces of filtered water throughout the day, and don’t allow yourself to become thirsty. Water only, not coffee or sodas!

  9. Rox

    Having a UTI is not the same as cystitis. Cystitis symptoms are similar to UTI, except there is no infection. I thought I had recurrent UTI’s. The dr kept giving antibiotics, with no improvement. When urine culture were done, no infection was present. I finally went to urologist. For me, oranges, orange juice, highly acidic fruits, and caffeine were triggers for inflammation. Strangely, cranberry juice is ok for UTI, but not cystitis.

  10. Isabel

    Pure cranberry juice mixed with water. I sip on it all day.

  11. Penelope

    Cranberry pills, 3x a week are the answer for me!

  12. Carol

    My gym told me to wash in the shower daily with Johnson’s baby shampoo. I haven’t had a UTI since.

  13. Heidi
    Moro IL

    ALWAYS- empty your bladder after sexual activity to allow the flow of urine to wash out any bacteria introduced during sex.

  14. Johnnie

    I was having several UTI’s/yr. I started drinking more water and cut soda’s out completely. I also remember how females should clean themselves. Front to back to keep from contamination of stool. I also purchased a bidet, used all over Europe, not so popular here, but they are wonderful, mine gives me a choice of water temperature, front or back, and amount of pressure. I have not had an UTI since! Johnnie

  15. Jean
    Chapel Hill, NC

    D-Mannose is the real deal. If I ever feel like a uti might be coming on, I take a half teaspoon of d-mannose powder in water and that takes care of it. Also drinking water, and not a lot of sweets.

  16. Lorijane
    Birmingham, AL

    The best advice I’ve come across for avoiding UTI’s is to use a bidet or to shower after you have a bowel movement. Women are very susceptible to e-coli contamination due to their anatomy. And since 90%+ of UTI’s are caused by e-coli, you’ve got to be vigilant about cleanliness. D Mannose is also invaluable for keeping bacteria from adhering to your bladder. Doctors are now being advised to avoid prescribing Cipro for uncomplicated UTI’s, thank god.

  17. Janeen

    I was on a trip overseas and couldn’t get any medicine. I could however get all the dried cranberries I wanted. After eating a large bowl two days in a row my symptoms were gone. I get them a lot on trips and will now take more precautions.

What Do You Think?

We invite you to share your thoughts with others, but remember that our comment section is a public forum. Please do not use your full first and last name if you want to keep details of your medical history anonymous. A first name and last initial or a pseudonym is acceptable. Advice from other commenters on this website is not a substitute for medical attention. Do not stop any medicine without checking with the prescriber. Stopping medication suddenly could result in serious harm. We expect comments to be civil in tone and language. By commenting, you agree to abide by our commenting policy and website terms & conditions. Comments that do not follow these policies will not be posted. Learn how your comment data is processed.

Your cart

Shipping and discount codes are added at checkout.