For years, women have been told that drinking cranberry juice can help fight off a urinary tract infection (or UTI). The reason of thought was that cranberry juice could flush away harmful bacteria while also keeping the bacteria from sticking to the bladder wall. But is this a medically proven fact, or just a myth? The answer is still unclear, which most likely negates any medical evidence of cranberry juice as a UTI treatment or prevention method.
If you agree with the review of studies published December 2013 in American Family Physician, you’ll say that cranberry juice has no real benefits in terms of helping a UTI. Fourteen studies were conducted, which found limited-quality or inconsistent patient-oriented evidence. However, if you are one of the biochemical researchers on the topic, you may still believe that cranberry products “prevent UTIs by altering the levels of hippuric acid in urine, or by preventing bacterial adhesion to the uroepithelial cells in the wall of the bladder.” Unfortunately, the evidence is not quite there to fully support this claim.
If cranberry juice can’t rescue you from the uncomfortable symptoms of a UTI, what can? First and foremost, it is important to see your gynecologist if you suspect a bladder infection. You may require a course of antibiotics to fully recover. However, there are other home remedies for a UTI besides cranberry products. For women who are especially prone to urinary tract infections or those who feel initial symptoms, the following may help:
- Drink plenty of water
- Consume more Vitamin C
- Empty your bladder fully and often
- Apply heat to soothe uncomfortable cramping
- Cut out irritants such as caffeine and alcohol
- Wear loose cotton underwear and clothing
For more facts on what can and cannot help your UTI, trust North Pointe OB/GYN in Cumming or Dawsonville. We offer conservative and effective treatments for bladder problems.