Does Cranberry Juice Really Help a UTI?

Does Cranberry Juice Really Help a UTI?

A urinary tract infection (UTI) is a bacterial infection that develops somewhere in your urinary tract, including your urethra, bladder, ureters, or kidneys. UTIs are common, and more than half of all women get at least one during their lives.

Unfortunately, UTIs are often quite painful. You might suffer bladder or pelvic pain, along with a persistent urge to urinate. Some women get recurring UTIs, which means they get infections more frequently than others.

If you’ve ever experienced a UTI, you probably want to do everything you can to avoid getting another one. Cranberry juice is often mentioned as a home remedy for UTIs — but does it really help, or is that just an old wives’ tale?

Our team at Solace Women's Care is here to help. Farly Sejour, MD, and Natalie Gould, WHNP-BC, offer comprehensive care for UTIs, and today, we’re sorting fact from fiction.

When you have an active UTI, you need medical treatment with antibiotics for it to go away. However, if you’re simply trying to prevent future UTIs, cranberry juice doesn’t hurt. Here’s why.

The science behind cranberry juice and urinary tract health

Drinking cranberry juice might be one of the best-known home remedies for UTIs. Many people believe that cranberry juice can prevent or even treat these painful infections, but they’re not sure why — or if it’s really true.

The answer comes from the compounds inside cranberries. Cranberries contain proanthocyanidins, which are compounds that can prevent certain types of bacteria from adhering to the tissues of your urinary tract. 

Cranberries also contain vitamin C, which can increase urine’s acidity and cut down on harmful bacteria overgrowth.

Several studies show that drinking unsweetened cranberry juice or consuming cranberry products is linked to a lower risk of UTIs, especially among women who get recurrent infections. However, other studies have found that consuming cranberry products doesn’t have a clear effect on frequency of UTIs.

That being said, drinking unsweetened cranberry juice in moderation doesn’t pose health risks. Adding the recommended serving size of unsweetened cranberry juice to your diet could help lower your risk of UTIs, but it won’t help if you already have an infection.

More ways to prevent UTIs

Along with trying cranberry juice, we have a few other tips that can help lower your risk of UTIs. Start by drinking plenty of water each day. When you’re hydrated, you urinate regularly, which helps flush harmful bacteria from your bladder and urethra.

Always visit the restroom when you feel the urge to urinate. Holding in urine can increase bacteria growth in your urinary tract and increase your risk of UTIs. When you use the toilet, wipe from front to back to reduce the risk of transferring bacteria from your anus.

Remember: If you have pelvic pain, pain with urination, a frequent urge to urinate, or other symptoms of a UTI, schedule a doctor’s appointment right away. Dr. Sejour and our team diagnose UTIs with urine tests, and we can prescribe treatment to get you feeling better faster.

Do you have more questions about UTI prevention and treatment? Schedule an appointment at Solace Women's Care. Call our Conroe, Texas, office at 936-441-7100 or send us a message online.

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