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What is the Connection Between Cranberry Juice and Urinary Tract Infections?

Article Details
  • Written By: T. Alaine
  • Edited By: Jenn Walker
  • Last Modified Date: 15 October 2018
  • Copyright Protected:
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    Conjecture Corporation
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Many people are vaguely aware that cranberry juice has been hyped as a possible preventative substance, or even treatment, for urinary tract infections, but are not completely sure what the connection between cranberry juice and urinary tract infections actually is. Some scientific evidence supports the idea that substances found in cranberry juice make it difficult for bacteria to grow in the urinary tract, thus preventing infection. While there is not necessarily irrefutable evidence that proves cranberry juice is a sufficient treatment for urinary tract infections, it is widely believed that drinking it has the potential to reduce the likeliness of an infection or speed recovery of an existing infection.

Urinary tract infections occur when bacteria enters the urinary tract and is able to multiply. The type of bacteria most commonly associated with urinary tract infections is E. coli, but there are others that can be problematic as well. Women are more likely to get urinary tract infections than men, especially if they are just beginning to engage in sexual activity. Some symptoms of urinary tract infections include uncomfortable or unusually frequent urination, pain in the bladder region, or even fever.

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If these symptoms present themselves, it is not wise to assume that simply drinking cranberry juice will clear up a urinary tract infection. Unfortunately, cranberry juice and urinary tract infections are not proven to have as solid of a medical relationship as antibiotics and infections. The best choice is always to consult a physician, who will likely prescribe antibiotics if a urinary tract infection is diagnosed. Chances are good, however, that doctors will alert patients to the possible correlation between cranberry juice and urinary tract infections, and suggest drinking cranberry juice as another means of preventing the multiplication of offending bacteria.

Cranberry juice and urinary tract infections are associated for a couple of reasons. First, hydration is very important in avoiding and healing infections because urination is a means of naturally removing bacteria from the urinary tract. Second, cranberry juice is thought to increase the acidity of urine, which makes it far more difficult for bacteria to adhere to the lining of the urinary tract. Lacking a secure location makes it less likely that bacteria will multiply, which is what causes infection.

Although consuming cranberry juice is associated with the prevention of urinary tract infections as well as with treatment, other measures, such as practicing proper hygiene in daily life and particularly after engaging in sexual acts, may be more productive. Cranberry juice and urinary tract infections are generally touted as being closely related, but it is difficult to describe the depth of this relationship, or what dosage is needed to see favorable results. Certainly, though, if an individual suffers from frequent urinary tract infections or is considered to be at high risk for developing such health issues, drinking pure cranberry juice or taking cranberry supplements might have beneficial effects.

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