Urinary tract infections, or UTIs, are widespread, especially in women.
They can cause frequent trips to the bathroom, painful urination, and soreness in the lower abdomen, back, or sides.
Because of these symptoms, many people would love to be cured as soon as possible.
You may have heard that cranberry juice may help prevent urinary tract infections (UTIs).
Bacteria typically cause these common infections, leading to more severe complications if left untreated. Thus, antibiotics are the most commonly prescribed treatment for UTIs.
But cranberry juice is touted as an excellent natural remedy.
In this article, we will explore the science behind how cranberry juice helps treat urinary tract infections and clear up the myths.
What is cranberry juice?
Cranberry juice has been used for generations to treat various medical ailments. It is a fruit native to North America, known for its bright red color.
As they develop, the berries start out white and become a beautiful, glossy, rich crimson. Cranberry juice is sweet with a sour edge and a mildly bitter aftertaste.
The term “cranberry juice cocktail” or “cranberry juice mix” refers to goods containing around 28% cranberry juice, with the remaining made up of various fruit juice concentrates (usually grape, apple, or pear juice), water, and sugar added to increase palatability.
Non-caloric sweeteners are used in low-calorie cranberry juice products. Cranberry juice’s tartness is due to its high polyphenol content.
Cranberries are healthy fruits in addition to any potential medicinal benefits. They are valuable because of their chemical composition and 85% water content.
For example, it is high in organic acids, vitamins, minerals, flavonoids, and anthocyanins while low in sugar. It’s also packed with vitamins, minerals, and antioxidants.
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Does cranberry juice help a UTI?
The precise mechanism by which cranberry juice aids in treating UTIs is unknown.
There is evidence that cranberries effectively treat urinary tract infections that cause frequent urination by preventing the bacteria from attaching to the urinary tract walls.
This theory is based on proanthocyanidins in cranberries. These are thought to prevent bacteria from adhering to the walls of your bladder and urethra.
It relieves the discomfort associated with a UTI by reducing inflammation and irritation in these areas.
In addition, studies show that drinking two glasses of unsweetened cranberry juice per day can reduce recurrence rates by up to 40%. It also contains vitamin C and antioxidants, which help to support the immune system.
This finding suggests that people with a weakened immune system or other underlying factors that cause frequent infections may benefit from regular consumption.
Despite cranberry being a popular beverage and home remedy, more research is required before scientists can draw firm conclusions about its long-term efficacy against recurring infections. Additionally, excessive consumption may cause more harm than good.
How does cranberry juice help?
Consuming cranberry products like pure cranberry juice, cranberry extract, or cranberry supplements may help prevent recurrent UTIs, but the benefit is usually minimal.
If you want to try cranberry juice to prevent UTIs, stick to pure, unsweetened cranberry juice rather than a cranberry juice cocktail.
The most widely held belief is that cranberry juice contains compounds that prevent bacteria from adhering to the bladder wall, allowing the body to flush them out efficiently.
Bacteria are more likely to be eliminated through urination when they can’t attach to the bladder wall.
The unique ingredients in cranberries, called A-type proanthocyanidins (PACs), can prevent bacteria from sticking to the bladder wall and prevent bacteria from adhering to the bladder wall, lowering the risk of UTIs.
In addition, the PACs found in cranberries have a different structure than those found in other fruits and vegetables, which are associated with their anti-adhesion properties.
As a result, cranberry PACs prevent certain harmful bacteria, such as E. coli, which causes urinary tract infections, from adhering to cell walls.
According to a study published in the Journal of the American Medical Association, women who drank cranberry juice daily for six months had a lower incidence of UTIs than those who did not.
Another theory is that cranberry juice contains anti-inflammatory properties that can help to alleviate the severity of UTI symptoms.
A study published in the Journal of Medicinal Food found that cranberry juice had anti-inflammatory effects in UTI rats.
Inflammation is a typical response to bacterial infection, causing pain and discomfort. Therefore, cranberry juice may relieve some discomfort associated with UTIs.
What is the most effective way to treat a UTI?
If you are a healthy person with an architecturally and functionally typical urinary system and no known heightened UTI risk, you have an uncomplicated UTI. Antibiotics are considered the first line of therapy for these people.
The type of medicines given to you and for how long is determined by the type of bacteria found in your urine, your present health state, and whether your UTI is uncomplicated.
Antibiotics remain the most often used therapy for urinary tract infections (UTIs). These medications are usually in the form of tablets that are taken orally over several days.
The UTI symptoms should improve when you’re on antibiotics in a few days. Otherwise, you should seek help from medical staff:
- Unfortunately, your symptoms return after you have been treated.
- The antibiotics are causing you problems.
- Your symptoms do not improve.
- Your symptoms aggravate.
Drinking fluids, emptying your bladder often, consuming Vitamin C, and taking a urinary alkaliser or a supplement are efficient home remedies for urinary tract infections.
To limit the chance of infection, you should also cleanse your genital area before and after peeing.
You can also use over-the-counter pain medicines like ibuprofen or acetaminophen to alleviate the discomfort associated with a UTI. You should see your doctor for additional treatment if the infection does not go away.
Overall, some evidence suggests consuming unsweetened cranberries may help relieve some symptoms related to mild cases of urinary tract infection.
However, additional clinical trials must be conducted before determining how effectively they prevent recurrent episodes.
Cranberry juice may reduce inflammation and provide vitamins, but antibiotics are best for acute cases.
Moderate amounts of cranberry juice can still be beneficial if combined with good hygiene habits.
While men and women can use cranberry juice as an effective natural remedy for UTIs, it should not be used as a substitute for treatment. Since antibiotics are the most dependable and efficient treatment, consulting a professional is still your best action if you have an active infection.