Can drinking cranberry juice cure a UTI?
You start feeling the symptoms of a Urinary Tract Infection (UTI), and your first thought is-- "I need to find some cranberry juice.” Cranberry juice has long been touted as a solution to UTI’s, but how much does cranberry juice do to treat, prevent, or cure UTI’s?
Can drinking cranberry juice cure a UTI?
If you currently have a UTI or UTI symptoms, cranberry products will not make a huge difference. Their power lies in the prevention of UTI’s- not treating one that you already have. As early as the 1800’s, scientists discovered that cranberry juice had the ability to lower the pH of urine, making it more acidic. The acidity of the urinary tract walls was believed to play a role in whether the area was more or less hospitable to bacteria like E.Coli, a main cause of UTI’s.
Research now shows that the compounds found in cranberries are what make it harder for infection-causing bacteria to stick to the urinary tract walls. The compounds found in cranberries are phenolic acids and flavonoids. These compounds can play a role in:
- Interfering with the ability of bacteria to stick to the lining of the urinary tract
- Reducing inflammation
- Modulating gut bacteria
- Decreasing the amount of bacteria held in ‘reservoirs’ in the bladder and gastrointestinal tracts that can lead to UTIs
The most recent scientific studies on the effectiveness of cranberries have found that drinking cranberry juice or taking cranberry pills can prevent UTI’s, especially for individuals at higher risk, but it doesn’t work for everyone- each body is different, and each body may respond differently. The American College of Obstetrics & Gynecology has found recently that unsweetened cranberry juice and cranberry pills may decrease the risk of getting a UTI; the exact amount of juice or pills needed and how long you need to take them to prevent infection are being studied further. A journal review from 2017 studying 1,498 different women found that drinking cranberry juice and taking cranberry supplements reduced the risk of UTI recurrence by 26%. This is good news for those who are affected by recurrent UTI’s (more than 3 a year). Other studies have found that cranberry products can be most helpful for specific populations, including but not limited to:
- Women with a history of UTI’s
- Older adults in nursing homes
- Otherwise healthy children
Cranberry extract, not cranberry juice, has even more evidence supporting its ability to prevent UTI’s from recurring; cranberry supplements are a more concentrated source of the active compounds needed to prevent UTI’s.
If you find yourself prone to UTI’s, or even that you are having recurrent UTI’s, the ingredients in the Stix UTI Daily Protection Supplement may prove particularly helpful- cranberry being one of the main ingredients.
If you currently have a UTI, you do not need to reach for the nearest cup of cranberry juice, according to medical professionals--since the bacteria that causes a UTI has already found its way to the urinary tract walls, cranberry juice will likely not make a huge difference. It is also important to make sure you do have a UTI and not something else! This at-home lab testing kit is a simple way to get your UTI confirmed and treated with the proper medication. Once you’ve been diagnosed with a UTI, the key is talking to your doctor and finding a regimen for treatment via antibiotics. Which antibiotics you are prescribed and how long the treatment regimen is depends on your health history and the type of bacteria found in your urine at the time of diagnosis.
UTI’s are a fact of life for many of us- 50% of women, compared with 12% of men will develop a UTI in their lifetime, and up to 30% of young women have recurrent UTI’s. Knowing the natural ingredients and products that can help prevent a painful infection is key to enhancing your quality of life and taking control of your health. Add cranberry juice to your routine if you are prone to UTI’s or looking to prevent future UTI’s, and if you already have an infection- call your doctor ASAP!