Have a urinary tract infection? Cranberry juice can prevent them -study

Science and Health

About a third of all women contract urinary tract infections (UTIs) – a painful condition causing frequent urination and burning, feeling the need to urinate despite having an empty bladder, bloody urine and pressure or cramping in the groin or lower abdomen.

Many are advised by their doctors to use antibiotic creams or depositories, but overuse of these drugs causes bacterial resistance. Folk remedies have included drinking a lot of water or taking paracetamol, but these usually don’t work.

Now, a study at Australia’s Flinders University has found that drinking unsweetened cranberry juice not only treats UTIs successfully but can also prevent them before they develop.

Can cranberry juice help?

A global study looking at the benefits of cranberry products published in Cochrane Reviews has determined cranberry juice, and its supplements, reduce the risk of repeat symptomatic UTIs in women by more than a quarter, in children by more than half, and in people susceptible to UTI following medical interventions by about 53%.

A study in 2012 with evidence from 24 trials showed no benefit from the products, but Australian researchers have now looked at 50 more- recent trials that included almost 9,000 participants.

“This incredible result didn’t really surprise us, as we’re taught that when there’s more and better evidence, the truth will ultimately come out.,” said the study lead author Dr. Gabrielle Williams.  Flinders epidemiologist Dr. Jacqueline Stephens, a co-author of the study, said that if the UTI persists untreated, it can move to the kidneys and cause pain and more complications, including sepsis in very severe cases, so prevention is the most effective way to reduce risks.

“Most UTIs are effectively and pretty quickly treated with antibiotics, sometimes as little as one dose can cure the problem. Unfortunately, in some people UTIs keep coming back,” she concluded. “It’s important to consider that few people reported any side effects of cranberries. Even centuries ago, Native Americans reportedly ate cranberries for bladder problems, leading somewhat more recently to lab scientists exploring what it was in cranberries that helped and how it might work.