Understanding and Treating UTIs: The Power of Cranberry

We've all heard that cranberry juice can help clear UTI's, but how true is it? We look at a few popular methods for clearing UTI's and discuss the effectiveness of them.

1 min read
Understanding and Treating UTIs: The Power of Cranberry
UTI’s impact around 50-60% of women and although less common in men, 3% of all men will get a UTI in their lifetime. If you’ve ever experienced the uncomfortable and sometimes painful feeling that is a UTI, you’ve probably attempted every trick in the book to get rid of it. From drinking gallons of water to making cranberry juice a staple on your shopping list, there’s not a lot we wouldn’t try to prevent from taking a trip to the pharmacy. But does sculling a litre of cranberry juice actually work or is it just an old wives' home remedy?

What is a UTI?

A urinary tract infection (UTI) is caused by bacteria, usually from the anus, entering and infecting any part of the urinary tract. Although UTIs feel and look different for everyone, common symptoms include an increase in frequency of urination, painful, cloudy/dark and strong-smelling urine, pain or pressure in lower abdomen, and in severe cases a fever, bloody urine and fatigue. Although usually just uncomfortable, untreated UTIs can result in complications and more severe infections in the kidneys or bladder. If you aren’t sure if you’ve had a UTI before, knowing the symptoms of UTIs can help you detect one early and in turn, treat it faster! If you are prone to UTIs, you can probably feel one coming on before any physical symptoms, but understanding the risks and complications can give you a new outlook on treatment.

The Flush Out Method

A common home remedy myth is that you can “flush” out a UTI by drinking a lot of water. Unfortunately, this isn’t necessarily true. Depending on the severity of the infection, UTIs may be treated by an increase of water, however it is more likely that increasing your water intake may relieve the symptoms, but probably won’t remedy the infection. In fact, masking the symptoms may cause a more severe infection if not treated. However, not all is lost on this “flushing” theory. It’s been shown that people who drink more water are less likely to have recurring UTIs, so drink up!

The Cranberry Juice Theory

The idea that cranberry juice can help with an UTI is equivalent to that of orange juice can help with a cold. The thought is there, but the science is unfortunately not. Although cranberries contain a chemical called A-type proanthocyanidins (PACs), which interferes with the bacteria’s ability to stick to the bladder wall, cranberry juice unfortunately doesn’t have a high enough concentration to actually treat UTIs. However, it is a great way to help prevent future UTIs if you continuously drink it even without a UTI!

What About a Cranberry Supplement?

Not a fan of drinking cranberry juice? No problem! One cranberry supplement is equivalent to about 230 ml of cranberry juice. A higher concentration of PACs reduced the occurrence of a UTI by 50%. Again, much like drinking water or juice, this is better as a preventative measure. But if you do have an inkling that a UTI is about to occur, you can definitely start popping some supps and slow down the process!

How do you treat a UTI?

Much like any other infection, most people will be prescribed a short round of antibiotics from their doctor. However, some people who suffer from recurring UTIs may need to go on a lower dose and longer round of antibiotics. Yep, that means you have to chat to your doctor about all the funky symptoms you’re experiencing down there. But never fear! Frenchie M.D is coming to a laptop or phone near you, and we’re aiming to tackle UTIs all online, discreetly and on your terms.

We know how convenient all the “get rid of UTI’s quick” schemes are, but we do advise that you take them with a grain of salt. Although these ways have *some* benefits, they will likely not get rid of your UTI. If you do suffer from a UTI, just know that it’s easily treated and super common, however it is important that you do get it treated. However, drinking cranberry juice and upping your water intake never hurt anyone, and can help prevent future UTIs!

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