When you think of UTIs, cranberry is one of the first things that comes to mind. The reason why we turn to cranberry juice for UTI treatment is just like any other ‘natural’ remedy: that one family member insists on it, you’ve read it online somewhere, or a friend of a friend’s doctor recommends it...But, does cranberry help prevent UTIs?
For centuries, folk medicine has passed on cranberry for UTI treatment and prevention. That’s because cranberries contain hippuric acid, and it was believed that upping the acidity of your urine was the best way to kill UTI-causing bacteria. We now know that this approach is ineffective for UTI treatment.
Another reason why we’ve been told cranberry works for UTIs is that they contain an active ingredient, A-type proanthocyanidins (PACs). PACs keep bacteria from adhering to the walls of the bladder. However, research has shown neither cranberry juice or cranberry pills contain enough PACs to have any preventative strength in humans. While some small studies show a slight improvement in recurrent UTIs, this was negated after larger studies were conducted. It’s unlikely you’ll see an improvement in your urinary health if you’re relying on cranberry capsules for UTI prevention.
A 2016 study published in the Journal of the American Medicine Association proves that consuming cranberry pills for UTI prevention is ineffective:
"After I got married, I had 3 UTIs within 3 months, the last of which almost put me into the hospital. I was always at the doctor's office answering all the questions and getting all the tests: "Yes, I go to the bathroom after sex." "Yes, I drink a lot of water." "Yes, I drink cranberry juice!!" I did everything right and nothing was working. My sister (who is a nurse) heard about this product and suggested that I try it. SALVATION. I haven't had a UTI since I started using this product 9 months ago. I order this on subscription and have it delivered to me every month. I recommend this to everyone struggling with UT issues. Do yourself a favor. If you are dealing with this, it is worth it! Try it!!"
Brittany N., Uqora customer
UTIs and Home Remedies
Around 60-percent of women will experience a UTI at some point over their lifetime. Although it is less common, UTIs can also affect men. Since the malady is so common, many home remedies have been invented and shared. When it comes to mythical treatments for UTIs cranberry juice is not alone. Some other suggested remedies include:
• Baking soda
• Yogurt and other foods with probiotics
These home remedies are not effective at treating a UTI you already have. If you believe you have a UTI, visit a healthcare provider who can properly diagnose you and prescribe antibiotics.
If left untreated or treated with ineffective methods, UTIs can spread and become more severe health risks. Do not wait to see a healthcare professional if you have a urinary tract infection.
While treating a UTI yourself is a bad idea, there are plenty of things you can do to help protect yourself against getting one. In fact, research to answer the question “does cranberry help prevent UTIs” suggests that there may be some helpful properties.
What You Shouldn’t Do
If you have a UTI, the most important thing you should avoid is relying on home remedies like cranberry for UTI treatment. Additionally, stay away from foods and drinks that could irritate your urinary tract. Avoid sugar, artificial sweeteners, caffeine, spicy foods and acidic foods until you have completed your antibiotic regimen and the symptoms have subsided.
What Else Can Help Prevent UTIs
Beyond taking cranberry pills for UTI prevention, there are many dietary changes you can make to help protect your urinary tract health. In general, simply maintain a good diet and getting plenty of exercise is the key to better health.
Drinking plenty of fluids is particularly helpful for your urinary tract. UTIs are caused by bacteria getting into the urinary tract. Proper hydration is an important component of your body’s overall health. Drinking fluids also causes you to urinate more frequently, flushing bacteria out of your bladder, urethra and kidneys.
Foods with plenty of vitamins are also helpful. Kale and other leafy greens carry a lot of important nutrients that support your immune system. While these foods will not treat a UTI, they are helpful for maintaining your health and avoiding one in the first place.
Yogurt and other products with probiotics can be helpful as well. They introduce good gut flora to your system which can prevent more harmful bacteria from adhering. Keep in mind that not all yogurts have probiotics in them.
While cranberry capsules for UTI prevention may seem like a miracle remedy, the truth is that maintaining a healthy lifestyle is more important. This can include cranberry juice for UTI. However, be sure to eat well and exercise as well.
Effective Solutions for UTI Prevention
While cranberry may have variable results for dealing with UTIs, there are many options available to you. Our Target drink mix and Control capsules are formulated as an easy way to get the natural vitamins that help prevent UTIs. Learn more about how they work and how you can protect yourself against urinary tract infections.