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Cranberry prevents urinary tract infections

Does Cranberry Prevent Unitary Tract Infection

According to statistics, unitary tract infections are the second most common type of infections worldwide. These infections are usually caused by E.coli, a type of bacteria found in the intestine. If not properly handled, unitary tract infections can lead to serious consequences.

Over the years, particular attention has been drawn to the protective effects of cranberry against urinary tract infections. These investigations suggest that polyphenols found in cranberry can help fight against E.coli adherence to vaginal or bladder. Unitary tract infections can also affect children, infants and men, but they are very commonly found among women.

Women are more vulnerable to urinary tract infection because their body structure is more exposed to external contaminations. Research says over 50% of women suffer a UTI unitary tract infection their lifetimes, and approximately 25% of women have at least one recurrence. Activities such as penis penetration and sexual stimulation can expose the vagina to bacterial infections. Secondly, since the vaginal opening is located very close to the anus in women, unclean wipes lead from back to front may result in infection.

Unitary tract infections include urethritis (infection of the urethra), cystitis (bladder infection) and pyelonephritis (kidney infection). Some common symptoms of unitary tract infections include:

  • Frequent and urgent need to urinate
  • Pain or burning sensation when urinating
  • Noticing Cloudy Urine which may even contain blood
  • Fatigue, fever, nausea and muscle and abdominal pain in kidney infections 

How Cranberry Protects Against Urinary Tract Infections.

Antibiotics are conventionally used to treat urinary tract infections. However, this strategy has been found to be quite unreliable. This is because bacteria may develop resistance over time and will require stronger antibiotics and longer time to completely eliminate the bacteria. For this reason, therapists are interested in several natural alternative remedies for the prevention and treatment of unitary tract infections.  

Cranberry is a red fruit with a sharp and sour taste, commonly grown in North American. Cranberry products have been studied for their potential effects in treatment. The most common products tested include juices and pills or capsules containing cranberry extracts or powdered fruit.

Cranberries contain high concentrations of polyphenols. These polyphenols serve as anti-adhesive agents when taken into the body. This means that they deprive bacteria from sticking to the wall of the vaginal or bladder. Once this is done, frequent urinations have higher chances of flushing harmful bacteria out of the body and prevent the risk of infection.  

A 2013 study administered cranberry to 28 women with a history of recurrent urinary tract infection. The two-week consumption period showed a reduction in the overall numbers of E. coli in the intestine.

Cranberry consumption is inexpensive and is readily available as a supplement to a woman’s diet. Taking regular doses of cranberry supplements is particularly advisable in the period of menopause of and pregnancy in women. This is because women have weaker immunity during menopause. However, during pregnancy, the uterus expands and presses the bladder, making the latter unable to empty completely. Thus, cranberry consumption may be necessary to keep the bladder healthy and flush traces of bacteria.


Some therapists are looking into the strategy of combining probiotics and the action with cranberries for the treatments of unitary tract infections. At this stage, studies have not concluded that cranberry can cure/treat unitary tract infections, but its consumption can help prevent and preserve bladder health in women.

Michael Yeung
Author: Michael Yeung

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