Cranberries for UTI Prevention, Not Treatment

Prevention and Treatment Very Different for this Common, Painful Condition

It’s a pretty common belief that cranberries (in juice or supplement form) play some role in helping urinary tract infections (UTIs). In fact, some 50 percent of women “drank a lot of cranberry juice” when they suspected they had a UTI, according to a survey conducted for Cystex® Urinary Pain Tablets. Some women swear by it to help prevent UTIs, while others say it is a great treatment for this common, painful infection.

According to the Experts:
The first thing to keep in mind is that treating and preventing urinary tract infections are two very different subjects. Cranberries are filled with antioxidants and have long been considered a very valuable ally for our health.  In addition to these antioxidants, cranberries contain hippuronic acid. This compound has been shown in some studies to make it much more difficult for the bacteria, which causes urinary tract infections to attach to the bladder wall (because this acid works to acidify the urine). This lowers the risk of getting a UTI in some cases.

However, make sure that you are drinking 100% cranberry juice because most of the sweetened versions with added sugar do not contain hippuronic acid.

Furthermore, doctors say once you have a UTI, cranberries in any form will do little to help treat it, and can actually exacerbate painful urination, one of the main symptoms associated with a UTI. 

How is this possible you ask?

The pain of a UTI is caused by irritation and inflammation of the urethra and urethral opening. Once you have a urinary tract infection, the same acid in the cranberry juice that acidifies the urine to help keep bacteria at bay can actually increase the irritation and cause more pain when urinating.

The best thing to do is to make an appointment to see your healthcare provider who will take a culture to confirm that you have a UTI and if so, will prescribe a course of antibiotics. In the meantime, however, while waiting to see your doctor, take the over-the-counter urinary pain relief medication Cystex® to help calm the symptoms.

Doctors recommend Cystex® over other urinary products because it is the only over-the-counter (OTC) medication that has a dual-action formula, with both a pain reliever to help with the discomfort and burning, as well as an antiseptic to help keep the bacteria in check and the infection from worsening while you wait to see your doctor.

So, bottom line is, by all means drink 100% cranberry juice to help ward off UTIs and to add antioxidants to your body, but once you have a UTI, it is best to stick to proper medication and forgo the berries.  You might even want to ask your doctor about taking Cystex preventatively to help stave off the UTI before it starts.