Has everything been okay when you go to the toilet recently?
That may be the strangest question that we’ve ever asked in an Xtrawine article! But the reason we ask is that this article is going to be all about your urinary tract.
No, not *your* tract specifically. We mean it’s going to be about the effects that Italian wine can have on the urinary tract.
Still with us?
The reason we’re covering this topic is that there’s a bit of confusion about this subject, as strange as this may seem. Some will tell you that drinking Italian wine will cause damage to your urinary tract. Others will tell you that wine is actually good for you in this unique sense.
The truth is a little bit more complex.
The fact is that both assertions are actually correct. What matters is the context of your drinking. There are some circumstances where drinking wine will cause harm to your urinary tract. But before we get to that, let’s look at the more general, positive effects.
Italian Wine, Antioxidants, and Urine
And that’s yet another subheading that we never thought we’d write on this website.
But let’s come back to the question at hand – what happens to your urinary tract when you drink Italian wine?
The answer is that it gets used more because you have to go to the toilet more often!
Well…that’s not the answer you came for is it, even though it’s true. What you want to know is how the wine affects the urinary tract.
And to answer that, we need to cover a topic that you’re already pretty familiar with – antioxidants in Italian wine. All wines contain antioxidants, with the most powerful of these being resveratrol. These compounds, which generally come from plants, are responsible for helping your body to fight against the bad elements that cause early ageing.
These bad elements are called free radicals.
These little nasties travel around your body and basically attack everything. They cause damage to all of your cells and they can even damage your DNA strands. Free radicals stand at the heart of almost every age-related condition or disease. But they also cause you to age more rapidly.
Your skin is a perfect example of this.
Over time, your skin cells become damaged. When you’re younger, your body is able to replenish these cells, which is why your skin continues to look fit and healthy. But as you get older, free radical damage causes the cells to die faster. And the other attacks on your skin ultimately lead to signs of ageing, such as wrinkles.
So…why is this important in regards to your urinary tract?
Just like any other part of your body, your urinary tract is chockfull of cells that help it to do its job.
Now, just think about all of the damage that free radicals could cause here.
Constant attacks on the cells in your urinary tract could lead to it not functioning as it should. This can result in you struggling when you go to the toilet. Plus, it lowers the tract’s defences, which makes it more susceptible to inflammation and infections.
When you drink Italian wine, particularly red wine, you’re giving your body a huge boost in antioxidants. And these antioxidants will help you to fight against the free radicals that cause so much damage in your body. This includes those that find their way to your urinary tract.
Now, a cautionary note is needed here.
As with every instance where we’ve talked about drinking Italian red wine for health reasons, you have to remember the two key words:
If you drink too much, the wine could actually do more harm than good, if not to your urinary tract then to other areas of your body.
So, it’s fine to drink Italian wine, in moderation, to the benefit of your urinary tract.
…Except when it isn’t.
When Shouldn’t You Drink Italian Red Wine in Relation to Your Urinary Tract
The simple answer is when you have a urinary tract infection (UTI).
While Italian wine can give your urinary tract a boost when there’s nothing especially wrong with it, wine cannot cure an infection. In fact, it will probably exacerbate the condition for two reasons.
Firstly, as beneficial as wine is in many respects, it still contains alcohol. And your body has to process these alcohol before you relieve yourself. Unfortunately, the alcohol that leaves your body through your urine can actually cause the infection to inflame on its way out.
Without wanting to sound too coarse…it’ll make it burn when you pee.
Plus, that inflammation could cause further damage to your urinary tract.
Secondly, you also have to consider all of the things that a UTI can affect. Of course, your urinary tract is in there. But UTIs can also cause your kidneys to not function as well as they should. These organs play a role in helping your body to sift through toxins that it needs to expel. And by drinking alcohol when you have a UTI, you’re giving your already-compromised kidneys more work to do.
And finally, you have the issue of antibiotics.
We wrote a whole post on the issues with drinking wine while taking antibiotics last week, so we won’t go into it too much here. But the fact is that the best way to treat a UTI is to take antibiotics.
If you’re drinking wine at the same time, you’re reducing the effect that these antibiotics have. Plus, you might leave yourself open to a host of side-effects, depending on the antibiotic.
So…What Should I Do?
In most circumstances, the antioxidants in Italian wine are a good thing for your urinary tract.
However, the alcohol in the wine will cause issues if you have a UTI.
So, the simple advice is to drink in moderation when you’re healthy so that you get a good boost. But if you do end up with an infection, Italian wine will unfortunately have to go back on the shelf until its cleared.