Cranberry juice has long been accepted as a simple, at-home remedy to urinary tract infections or UTIs. Many doctors still recommend drinking cranberry juice to help ease a urinary tract infection or make it go away faster. But, are cranberries really the ultimate natural cure they are claimed to be? The exact reason cranberries are supposedly helpful, as well as if they are even effective at all has recently become more of a debate.
Urinary tract infections occur when there is an overabundance of “bad” bacteria in the urine, that can eventually travel from the bladder to the kidneys if left untreated. The most common symptoms of a “UTI” are frequent need to urinate, difficulty urinating, pain or discomfort when urinating, cloudy urine, foul-smelling urine, or in more extreme cases, blood in the urine and low fevers.
Initially, cranberry juice was thought to alter the pH of urine making it more acidic and, therefore, inhospitable to this “bad” bacteria. More recently, however, researchers found that cranberries may contain substances that prevent infection-causing bacteria from sticking to the urinary tract walls. Precisely how this happens is unclear. Some studies show certain antioxidants in cranberries change the bacteria so that they can’t stick to the urinary tract, and others imply that cranberries create a slippery coating on the urinary tract walls that prevents the bacteria from gripping.
Many recent studies, however, have also had mixed conclusions as to how helpful cranberries are to treating or preventing urinary tract infections. The ultimate decision of the medical community is that while taking cranberry tablets or drinking gallons of juice is probably not going to cure the general population of UTIs, drinking unsweetened cranberry juice is still a healthy habit. With a high dose of vitamin C as well as being a hydrating, low sugar beverage, cranberry juice is definitely a healthy choice.
If you need to make an appointment or speak to one of our staff members about a UTI or any other urological issue, give us a call at 1-877-321-8452.