Background: Because urinary tract infections (UTIs) are caused by bacteria in the stool, dietary factors may affect the risk of contracting a UTI by altering the properties of the fecal bacterial flora.
Objective: We studied dietary and other risk factors for UTI in fertile women in a case-control setting.
Design: One hundred thirty-nine women from a health center for university students or from the staff of a university hospital (mean age: 30.5 y) with a diagnosis of an acute UTI were compared with 185 age-matched women with no episodes of UTIs during the past 5 y. Data on the women's dietary and other lifestyle habits were collected by questionnaire. A risk profile for UTI expressed in the form of adjusted odds ratios (ORs) with 95% CIs was modeled in logistic regression analysis for 107 case-control pairs with all relevant information.
Results: Frequent consumption of fresh juices, especially berry juices, and fermented milk products containing probiotic bacteria was associated with a decreased risk of recurrence of UTI: the OR for UTI was 0.66 (95% CI: 0.48, 0.92) per 2 dL juice. A preference for berry juice over other juices gave an OR of 0.28 (95% CI: 0.14, 0.56). Consumption of fermented milk products > or = 3 times/wk gave an OR of 0.21 (95% CI: 0.06, 0.66) relative to consumption < 1 time/wk. Intercourse frequency was associated with an increased risk of UTI (OR for > or = 3 times/wk compared with < 1 time/wk: 2.7; 95% CI: 1.16, 6.2).
Conclusion: Dietary habits seem to be an important risk factor for UTI recurrence in fertile women, and dietary guidance could be a first step toward prevention.