Beer and Urinary Tract Infections

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The urinary system is composed of the urethra, bladder, ureters and kidneys. A urinary tract infection in any of these can be painful, and possibly dangerous. Drinking liquids can help fight a UTI, but beer isn't one of them.

Symptoms

  • The main symptoms of UTI are frequent urges to urinate, but with little success; burning when you do urinate; and blood in the urine. These, along with a low-grade fever, are often found in infections of the urethra and bladder. If the infection is in your kidneys, symptoms can include high fever, nausea and vomiting, and shaking and chills.

Causes

  • When the body's defenses fail, bacteria can make their way into the urethra. They can remain there, causing an infection called urethritis, and/or make their way to the bladder, which results in cystitis. If the infection gets to the kidneys, kidney damage can result.

Treatment

  • Your doctor will prescribe antibiotics to clear up the infection. The Mayo Clinic recommends drinking a lot of water, which will help flush out any lingering bacteria. However, other liquids, including coffee, soft drinks and alcohol including beer, should be avoided, as they will make your frequent, urgent need to pee even worse. Carbonated beverages--beer again--can also exacerbate the problem.

Prevention

  • To help keep urinary tract infections at bay, drink lots of water. Cranberry juice can also help prevent UTIs, but check with your doctor if you are taking warfarin, a blood thinner, as it can interact badly with cranberry juice.

Bottom Line

  • Beer does not help urinary tract infections, and can actually make the symptoms worse.

References

  • Photo Credit Image by Flickr.com, courtesy of jenny downing
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