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Cranberry Juice May Help Prevent Bladder Infections

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Updated May 23, 2014

Cranberry juice
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Drinking cranberry juice can as a home remedy for preventing bladder infections may be effective. Bladder infections, also known as urinary tract infections or cystitis, are caused by bacteria that travel from the urethra up into the urinary bladder.

Urinary tract infections can be quite painful. Women may feel like they need to urinate frequently, have a burning pain while urinating, and may even see blood in the urine. Medical treatment is needed for cystitis and involves antibiotics when bacteria is present.

Some women experience frequent, recurring urinary infections, even with medical treatment, but drinking cranberry juice might help to prevent these infections. A substance present in cranberry juice prevents bacteria from adhering to the walls of the bladder so that infections aren't as likely to occur.

The exact dosage of cranberry juice isn't completely clear, and the sour taste may make it difficult for many women to want to continue taking it. Fortunately, concentrated cranberry capsules or tablets are available, and they appear to be just as effective as juice.

Preventing Urinary Tract Infections

  • Drink seven ounces of cranberry juice daily. Remember to buy 100-percent cranberry juice, not cranberry juice drinks or cocktails because they contain much less cranberry juice and a lot of sugar.
  • If you prefer, you can take cranberry juice tablets. Be sure to follow the instructions on the label.
  • Drink plenty of water. When you drink more water, you will urinate frequently. This will flush the urethra frequently and remove the bacteria.
  • Wipe your genital area from front to back after urinating or having a bowel movement. This will help keep bacteria from the vagina and anus away from your urethra.
  • Take showers instead of baths.
While research supports that cranberry juice prevents urinary tract infections in women, it may not be true for men or children. Speak with your doctors if you're taking medications -- drinking large amounts of cranberry juice may interact with some medications.

Sources:

Jepson RG, Mihaljevic L, Craig J. "Cranberries for preventing urinary tract infections." Cochrane Database Syst Rev. 2004;(1):CD001321.

Mayo Clinic. "Cystitis." Infectious Disease. Published March 2007.

Stothers L. "A randomized trial to evaluate effectiveness and cost effectiveness of naturopathic cranberry products as prophylaxis against urinary tract infection in women." Can J Urol. 2002 Jun;9(3):1558-62.

 

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