Urinary tract infections (UTIs) develop when bacteria gain access to the urinary system through the urethra. The kidney, bladder, ureter, and urethra comprise the urinary system. Women, newborns, and the elderly are disproportionately affected by UTIs.
Antibiotic treatment often cures a UTI in a few days. However, complications such as kidney infection and sepsis can arise from a UTI if left untreated. Death and organ failure are possible outcomes of sepsis.
This article explores the potential role of cranberry juice in preventing UTIs and discusses various home cures and effective treatments via scientific research.
UTI: Signs & Symptoms
If you come across any of the following symptoms, then you may be suffering from UTI:
- Constant and overwhelming need to urinate
- Feelings of pain when urinating
- Rapid urination with little output
- Cloudy urine
- Blood in the urine is characterised by a reddish, bright pink, or cola-coloured hue.
- A pungent odour
- Pain in the pelvis, specifically in the area surrounding the pubic bone, is a common complaint among women.
However, seek immediate medical attention if you experience any of the following symptoms:
- odorous urine
- high urine output or a persistent need to pee, pain or
- pelvic discomfort in women
- red or pink urine
- hazy/cloudy pee
Cranberry Juice & UTI: What Is The Connection?
Cranberry juice is often used as a prophylactic measure against urinary tract infections. However, according to the Office of Women’s Health, cranberry juice’s effectiveness in preventing UTIs has mixed findings.
Antioxidant proanthocyanidins (PACs) found in raw cranberries, as the National Kidney Foundation reported, may stop germs from colonising the urinary system.
In 2013, scientists looked at whether or not consuming cranberry juice may help prevent UTIs in those who had previously suffered from them. Researchers observed that people who consumed 125 ml of cranberry juice before bed for 24 weeks had a decreased recurrence risk.
The participants in this research all had complex UTIs, which implies they were at a higher risk for further problems and long-lasting or recurring infections. Those more likely to experience a severe case of a UTI include males, pregnant women, and persons who use urinary catheters.
People with uncomplicated UTIs may have a different experience with cranberry juice. In people with healthy kidneys and urinary systems, a UTI is considered simple if the symptoms are mild and the diagnosis is made quickly.
Cranberry juice should be avoided by those who suffer from painful bladder syndrome (also known as interstitial cystitis) since it might aggravate existing symptoms.
As far as prevention is concerned, cranberry’s effectiveness as a UTI preventative is unclear based on the available research.
As a result, consuming cranberry juice regularly is not encouraged as a means of avoiding urinary tract infections. But it could help people with chronic urinary tract infections (three or more per year). Therefore, you may want to discuss the issue with your doctor if you suffer from frequent UTIs.
UTI: If Not Cranberry, Then How Can It Be Treated?
Urinary tract infections are often treated first with antibiotics. Which medication is taken and how long depends on your health and the germs discovered in your urine.
Some typical antibiotics for treating UTIs are:
- Nitrofurantoin (Macrodantin, Macrobid, Furadantin) (Macrodantin, Macrobid,
- Furadantin)Sulfamethoxazole and trimethoprim (Bactrim, Bactrim DS)
- Fosfomycin (Monurol) (Monurol)
For mild UTIs, doctors usually avoid prescribing fluoroquinolones. Ciprofloxacin (Cipro) and levofloxacin are two examples of such medications. The hazards of using these medications for treating a simple UTI exceed any potential advantages.
When all other treatments have failed, your doctor may recommend a fluoroquinolone to treat a severe urinary tract infection (UTI) or kidney infection.
UTI symptoms often improve during the first few days of medication. Antibiotic treatment may need to be continued for a week or more. Finish the entire course of treatment.
If you’re otherwise healthy and have an uncomplicated UTI, your doctor may advise a shorter period of therapy. A course of antibiotics, lasting anywhere from one to three days, could be required. Depending on your symptoms and medical history, a quick course of therapy may be all that’s needed to cure your infection.
Your doctor may prescribe pain medication to alleviate the discomfort of urinary tract inflammation. However, if an antibiotic is started, the discomfort often disappears quickly.
UTI: How To Prevent It?
If you have a UTI right now, don’t bother with cranberries; instead, make an appointment with your doctor. Sometimes medicines aren’t necessary to treat a minor UTI since the infection clears up.
It has also been suggested that drinking unsweetened cranberry juice might aid those who suffer from recurrent UTIs. Perhaps not, though.
Besides using the measures already mentioned, here are five more things you may do to prevent a urinary tract infection:
Maintain A Healthy Fluid Intake
UTI-causing bacteria may be diluted and flushed out of your system by drinking plenty of water, which also increases the volume of your urine and encourages you to urinate frequently. Both can lessen the likelihood of contracting an illness.
Wipe The Toilet Seat Down Gently
Infection can occur in the vaginal or urethral areas if germs originate in the rectum and then travel there. Fortunately, this is easily avoidable by wiping from front to back.
Always Pee After Sex
After you’ve been sexually active, you should try to urinate. You might try drinking some water and then going to the bathroom to see if it helps eliminate the germs. While there isn’t much proof, it’s also not damaging.
Fix The Vaginal Ph Imbalance
The vaginal pH can shift after menopause, making it more challenging for beneficial bacteria to thrive and more favourable for UTI-causing bacteria to flourish. Postmenopausal women prone to UTIs should discuss the possibility of vaginal oestrogen replacement therapy with their doctor.
Alter Your Method Of Birth Control
Diaphragms and condoms treated with spermicide may foster the growth of bacteria that is not desirable. Suppose you use one of these methods of contraception and are experiencing frequent UTIs. In that case, you may want to consider switching to a different method.
Studies suggest that consuming cranberry products like juice or using cranberry extract supplements may help prevent recurrent UTIs. Nonetheless, there is insufficient evidence to recommend these medications for treating an already-present UTI.
Regular UTI recurrence can be avoided with a combination of supplement use and other lifestyle adjustments you and your doctor can choose together.