Dietary factors protecting women from urinary tract infection

Am J Clin Nutr. 2003 Mar;77(3):600-4. doi: 10.1093/ajcn/77.3.600.


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.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Adult
  • Animals
  • Beverages*
  • Case-Control Studies
  • Coitus
  • Confidence Intervals
  • Diet
  • Feces / microbiology
  • Female
  • Fermentation
  • Finland / epidemiology
  • Fruit*
  • Humans
  • Life Style
  • Middle Aged
  • Milk / metabolism
  • Milk / microbiology
  • Multivariate Analysis
  • Nutrition Policy
  • Odds Ratio
  • Probiotics / administration & dosage*
  • Recurrence
  • Risk Factors
  • Surveys and Questionnaires
  • Urinary Tract Infections / epidemiology
  • Urinary Tract Infections / etiology
  • Urinary Tract Infections / prevention & control*