Many sources claim you should drink at least eight glasses of water a day, but do you know the link between good hydration and urologic health (the health of your urinary tract)? In this article, we’ll address why drinking enough fluids is important for your kidneys, ureters, bladder, and urethra.
Why is hydration important for your health?
It’s widely accepted that you should drink six to eight cups of liquid a day1, though this exact number depends on a multitude of factors, including physical activity and climate 2.However, the importance of good hydration isn’t often discussed. So why exactly is drinking the right amount so vital?
Water fulfils many essential roles in your body, including (but not limited to):
- Forming part of the blood system that brings glucose, oxygen, and nutrients to all your cells
- Lubricating our joints and eyes
- Helping to regulate digestion
- Keeping your skin healthy 3.
Drink plenty of water for your urinary tract health
More specifically to urologic health, remaining hydration has the following benefits:
- Helping your kidneys do their job properly. Without enough liquid, your kidneys have to work overtime to dissolve minerals and nutrients and remove waste products.
- Preventing bladder and kidney stones. Being dehydrated leads to more concentrated urine, which prevents waste products from being effectively removed from your urinary tract.
- Helping to prevent infections. Urinary tract infections are very common, occurring when bacteria enters the urethra. Remaining hydrated helps to flush out bacteria before they can multiply4.
- Avoiding kidney failure. As part of your metabolic system, the kidneys are negatively impacted by dehydration, which can weaken their tissues. If you have a pre-existing kidney issue, it’s even more important to drink enough liquids5.
If you have some form of urinary incontinence, you may believe that limiting your liquid intake will help improve your symptoms. However, this is a common misconception, as not drinking enough leads to more concentrated wee, which irritates the bladder 6. Instead, you could consider using continence products to manage this condition. Specially designed with urologic health in mind, iD Pants feature a comfortable elasticated waistband and odour control technology to keep you feeling fresh and secure. Plus, the breathable material is kind on your skin, and with a range of absorbencies available, you’re sure to find the right product for you.
What should you drink to improve your urologic health?
While most fluids count towards your liquid intake, not all are made equal. Generally, water, skimmed milk, and sugar-free drinks, including tea and coffee all help to keep you hydrated 7. Nonetheless, if you have a pre-existing urologic condition, such as an overactive bladder, incontinence, or inflammation, you may find it helpful to avoid certain drinks, including:
- Alcohol, which is linked to several urological issues, including kidney cancer8
- Coffee, as the caffeine may aggravate your symptoms
- Acidic fruit juices, such as orange and tomato juices
- Fizzy drinks
- Drinkswith certain artificial sweeteners, such as aspartame, which can irritate the bladder9.
Want to read more about urological health?
If you’ve ever wondered if it was a myth that cranberry juice helps to treat/prevent UTIs, why not read our article on the subject?
1 “Water, drinks and your health”, NHS, 30 July 2021, Source: https://www.nhs.uk/live-well/eat-well/food-guidelines-and-food-labels/water-drinks-nutrition/
2 “The importance of hydration”, Johanna Hignett, 19 August 2019, Source: https://www.bda.uk.com/resource/the-importance-of-hydration.html
4 “3 ways drinking water is keeping you healthy”, Tim Burton, 9 March 2018, Source: https://www.theurologyfoundation.org/news/3-ways-drinking-water-is-keeping-you-healthy
5 “How Staying Hydrated Can Benefit Your Urologic Health”, Alliance Urology Specialists, n.d., Source: https://allianceurology.com/how-staying-hydrated-can-benefit-your-urologic-health/
6 “Dehydration In Seniors: Preventing This Surprising Cause Of Incontinence”, Samantha Hall, 27 April 2018, Source: https://www.incontinence.co.uk/dehydration-in-seniors-preventing-this-surprising-cause-of-incontinence
7 “Water, drinks and your health”, NHS, 30 July 2021, Source: https://www.nhs.uk/live-well/eat-well/food-guidelines-and-food-labels/water-drinks-nutrition/
8 “5 ways your food and drink are impacting your urology health”, Tim Burton, 8 March 2019, Source: https://www.theurologyfoundation.org/news/5-ways-your-food-and-drink-are-impacting-your-urology-health
9 “Food and Drink to Tame an Overactive Bladder”, Minesh Khatri, MD, 27 January 2022, Source: https://www.webmd.com/urinary-incontinence-oab/food-drink