The UTI & Alcohol Connection
Shots! Shot! Shots (of water)!
If you’ve also heard that there’s a connection between alcohol and urinary tract infections (UTIs), you’re not wrong. But, you’re not exactly right. There’s some nuance to their relationship, and hopefully this article will leave the facts as clear as your pee should be if you’re well-hydrated!
The key to the relationship between alcohol and UTIs has to do with just that: hydration. UTIs are triggered by a number of things, but dehydration is definitely a contributing factor.
Alcohol is a diuretic, meaning it removes fluid from the blood through the renal system (kidneys, uterus, bladder) at a much faster rate. This causes dehydration. And dehydration, in a nutshell, is when you lose more fluids than you are able to take in, leaving the body unable to function the way it needs to.
So, really it’s not alcohol itself that causes UTIs. That’s a misnomer. It’s the fact that drinking alcohol can seriously dehydrate you, which can make you more prone to a UTI.
So, if you’re prone to UTIs or just don’t want to be extremely hung over, how can you combat dehydration this holiday season? Luckily, it's not hard. Drink water!
According to the U.S. National Academies of Sciences, Engineering, and Medicine, you should be drinking between 2.7 and 3.7 liters of water a day (wow, so specific). If that feels too hard to measure, roughly eight glasses a day is a really good goal. It’s important to remember though that every body is unique and some people might need more or less. If you’re thirsty, drink. You will know that you’re taking in an adequate amount of water if your pee is either clear or a light yellow.
So, you want to engage in some responsible drinking, great. According, to Healthline, you should “have at least one 16-ounce glass of water with every 12-ounce beer or 4 to 6 ounces of liquor” to combat dehydration. This will not only help to avoid a UTI, it will probably also help out with hangovers. On top of drinking adequate water to replenish hydration, you can include electrolytes in your routine which help to rehydrate you more quickly. For combating both UTIs and dehydration, try Cheeky Bonsai's UTI Drink Mix which is formulated with electrolytes.
If you really want to deep-dive into the anti-dehydration game, stick to light-colored alcohol, which is slightly less dehydrating than darker alcohol that contains more congeners, a byproduct of the fermentation process. You can definitely still get a hangover from light-colored alcohol, but it may be less severe. Another helpful tip is to limit the number of drinks (obviously), and to sip each drink slowly over the course of an hour, hydrating with water between. This gives your body more time to process each drink.
All that said, it's important to remember that alcohol is one of those things that everyone’s body processes differently. Listen to your body, know your limits, and stay hydrated, whatever that means for you individually.