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Thirst at work--an occupational hazard?

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  • 1University of Iowa College of Medicine, Iowa City 52242, USA.


Of 1492 teachers 791 (53%) responded to a survey addressing whether voiding habits at work or behavioral factors influenced by this occupation predisposed women to urinary tract infection. The mean number of voids during the work day was 2.7 +/- 1.4; 24.5% voided infrequently (never or only once) and 26.5% voided four or more times during the work day; 15.8% had had a urinary tract infection in the preceding year. Half of the respondents made a conscious effort to drink less while working, to avoid needing to use the toilet. There was no association between the prevalence of urinary tract infection and the number of voids or infrequent voiding at work. Compared to women who drank the volume they desired at work, those who drank less had a 2.21-fold higher risk (95% CI 1.45-3.38) of urinary tract infection after controlling for being parous, voiding infrequently at work, and urge incontinence. Further study is warranted to determine whether modification of behavioral factors at work can reduce the incidence of urinary tract infections. If this association holds, public policy must be changed to allow workers more adequate access to toilet facilities.

[PubMed - indexed for MEDLINE]
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