Drinking cranberry juice or taking cranberry supplements is a common go-to treatment for urinary tract infections (UTIs). But is it really as effective as we think it is? Research is now questioning the age-old faith in the benefits of cranberry, suggesting that cranberry products won’t actually help you much when treating a UTI.
Cranberries no good for treating UTIs
Everyone knows the telltale symptoms of a UTI – burning sensation while urinating, pain, and frequent urination. UTIs are commonly treated with antibiotics, but to get the prescription you need to see the doctor, so it may take a while before you actually start on your treatment. Besides, antibiotics may interact with other meds you may be taking and may cause some side effects, too.
To avoid the hassle, many people choose to treat the infection with cranberry pills. Although there is some evidence that cranberries may be able to prevent UTIs, medical research refutes the notion that the remedy is an effective treatment.
Recurring UTIs are common among senior women. The researchers set to test the effects of concentrated cranberry capsules on women living in a senior home. The women received two capsules a day for one year. One half of the participants received a mega-dose of cranberry concentrate, while the other half received a placebo. Urine samples were collected every two months.
At the end of the study, the researchers did not find any significant difference between the two groups of women, meaning although cranberries may be good for health overall, they offer little protection for our bladders.
So the next time you feel the symptoms of a UTI creeping up, you may want to head to the doctor instead of reaching for the cranberry juice.
Related: Overactive bladder diet: Foods and drinks to manage bladder health