Cranberries can prevent urinary tract infections for women, study confirms

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Urinary tract infections (UTIs) are a common and uncomfortable problem, affecting about one-third of women at some point in their lives, as well as many elderly people and those with bladder issues from spinal cord injury or other conditions.

If left untreated, UTIs can cause pain, complications, and even sepsis in severe cases. As such, preventing UTIs is an important goal for many people.

For a long time, cranberry juice and supplements have been touted as potential solutions for preventing UTIs.

However, earlier studies had found no clear benefit from these products.

This new study aimed to update these findings and determine whether cranberry products are indeed an effective preventative measure for UTIs.

The study authors looked at 50 more recent trials, including almost 9,000 participants, and found that cranberry products can indeed be effective in preventing UTIs.

Specifically, they found that cranberry juice and supplements can reduce the risk of repeat symptomatic UTIs in women by more than a quarter, in children by more than half, and in people susceptible to UTI following medical interventions by about 53%.

Lead author Dr. Gabrielle Williams explains, “This incredible result didn’t really surprise us, as we’re taught that when there’s more and better evidence, the truth will ultimately come out. Cranberry products can help some women prevent UTIs.”

It’s important to note that the study did not find any benefit for elderly people, pregnant women, or people with bladder emptying problems.

Additionally, the data does not show whether cranberry products are more or less effective than antibiotics or probiotics in preventing UTIs.

Despite these limitations, the study authors believe that cranberry products can be a safe and effective way to prevent UTIs in certain populations.

They note that few people reported any side effects, with the most common being tummy pain.

They also point out that cranberry products are a harmless and easy option, and can be a good alternative for people who cannot take antibiotics.

Overall, the study suggests that cranberry products are a promising preventative measure for UTIs, and can be a helpful addition to a person’s routine.

As always, it’s important to talk to your healthcare provider before adding any new supplements or making significant changes to your diet.

With the right guidance and care, cranberry products may be able to help some people avoid the discomfort and complications of UTIs.

How to prevent UTIs

While cranberry juice and supplements can be a helpful preventative measure for UTIs in certain populations, there are other things you can do to reduce your risk of getting a UTI:

Stay hydrated: Drinking plenty of fluids can help flush bacteria out of your urinary tract.

Practice good hygiene: Wiping from front to back after using the toilet can help prevent bacteria from entering your urethra. Also, avoid using strong soaps or feminine hygiene products that can irritate the genital area.

Urinate frequently: Don’t hold in urine for long periods of time. Urinating frequently helps flush out bacteria.

Empty your bladder completely: When you urinate, try to empty your bladder as much as possible to reduce the number of bacteria in your urinary tract.

Avoid irritating substances: Avoid using irritating substances such as douches, powders, and perfumed sprays in the genital area.

Wear loose-fitting clothing: Wearing loose-fitting clothing and cotton underwear can help keep the genital area dry and reduce the risk of bacterial growth.

Practice safe sex: Use a barrier method of birth control such as a condom to reduce your risk of getting an STD, which can increase your risk of developing a UTI.

It’s important to note that these preventative measures may not always be effective, and some people may be more prone to getting UTIs than others.

If you have frequent UTIs, speak to your healthcare provider about additional steps you can take to reduce your risk.

If you care about nutrition, please read studies about how the Mediterranean diet could protect your brain health, and the best time to take vitamins to prevent heart disease.

For more information about health, please see recent studies about why men die earlier than women, and these antioxidants could help reduce dementia risk.

The study was published in Cochrane Reviews.

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