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Can Cranberries Prevent or Treat Urinary Tract Infections?

Urinary tract infections (UTI) happen to be one of the most common ailments in the current times. This is a condition that can affect men, women, and children of all age groups all across the world. However, urinary tract infections are much more common in women as they have shorter urethra as compared to men. A lot has been said about urinary tract infection, the ways they can be treated and be prevented. (1) Some regular medications like uriliser and courses of antibiotics are the only way through which you can treat Urinary tract infections (UTI). The problem here is that urinary tract infection can be recurrent. This means that even after it has been fully cured it can come back any time. In fact, some people are more akin to developing Urinary tract infections (UTI). In this situation, you must do whatever you can to prevent the disease from recurring. There are some home based remedies which are told to prevent urinary tract infection and one such thing is cranberry. Let’s understand in detail as to what are cranberries and to get a better insight into the claim whether cranberries can prevent urinary tract infection.

What are Cranberries?

Cranberries belong to the Ericaceae family that is integrally found in the humid forests of the acidic swamps that are full of peat moss. Since very early times the American Cranberry was used in the treatment of urinary tract infection. Cranberries contain 88% water and high levels of vitamin C with fructose. They also have anthocyanidins, flavonoids, triterpenoids, and catechins. (2) They are tart as far as their taste is concerned. The constituents of the plant enhance its properties to fight microbes. Due to their tart and sour nature, not everybody consumes them. Cranberry juice is a popular choice for cocktails, where the juice is just 25% of the whole drink. However, cranberry juice works best when it is not in the sweetened form. (3)

Can Cranberries Prevent or Treat Urinary Tract Infection?

Amongst the different techniques used to prevent UTI, people have been increasingly harping on the importance and effectiveness of cranberries. The idea has been increasingly circulating in the medical circles that consumption of cranberry products like juices, pills, etc. can help to prevent UTI in the lower urinary tract. (1, 4) A lot of investigation has been done on this domain and yet a lot of research is being conducted so that something more substantial can be found. However, as of now, there are mixed reactions to the claim.

Earlier it was thought that cranberries make the urine acidic which makes it difficult for the bacteria responsible for urinary tract infection to survive and thrive in the urinary tract. (1, 4) However, at the later stage, it was found that this happened to be a wrong deduction. It was found that the bacteria of E-coli which are commonly responsible for maximum cases of urinary tract infection all over the world need to stick to the walls of the urinary tract to thrive and cause the diseases. The constituents and the composition of cranberries make it difficult for the E-coli bacteria to stick to the walls of the urinary tract. This is one of the main reasons why it is said that cranberry juices and pills can help prevent urinary tract infection, especially in the lower urinary tract. This holds true for women, men, and children. In fact, some investigations are being done where the preventive capacity of cranberry is analyzed in different kinds of patients with urinary tract infection like pregnant women, cancer patients, aging men and women, breastfeeding mothers, and so on. (3, 4)

Things to Remember

At this junction, it is imperative to mention that the results of consuming cranberry for preventing urinary tract infection are still not fully understood. However, you must remember that consuming cranberries naturally can cause some stomach problems in some people. (4) People who have a history of kidney stones must abstain from having cranberries as their acidic nature can lead to the reformation of kidney stones. In fact, if you are thinking of taking up this particular method to prevent recurrent urinary tract infection you need to consult your doctor first. Your doctor will be the best person to advise you on this entire matter. Also, the doctor can recommend the right form of supplement, juice, or pill of cranberries you can take to keep the problem of urinary tract infection at bay. (4) In any case, even if you are having cranberry in any form, remember to have an ample amount of water to stay away from the problems that could arise due to consumption of cranberries over a period of time.


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Team PainAssist
Team PainAssist
Written, Edited or Reviewed By: Team PainAssist, Pain Assist Inc. This article does not provide medical advice. See disclaimer
Last Modified On:January 21, 2022

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