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Does Cranberry Juice Help UTI's?

Urinary Tract Infections (UTIs) can be both physically and mentally distressing – being trapped in your bathroom or experiencing physical pain and discomfort can keep you from doing the things you love! 

So you may be wondering if there’s a fast, at home remedy for treating a UTI so you can get back to your regular life. One of the most common at-home remedies for a UTI is cranberry juice – but does it really work? Does cranberry juice help UTIs? If so, how soon does cranberry juice help UTI symptoms?

In this post we’ll dive into whether you should be drinking cranberry juice for your UTI, does cranberry juice cure UTI, other treatment options, and when to take the next steps in your treatment.

UTI Symptoms

Before starting any at-home remedies, of course you want to  be certain whether you actually have a UTI to treat. You might be drinking cranberry juice for UTI, only to find out you have something else wrong. 

Symptoms of UTI typically include changes in the frequency, volume, and/or color of your urine. Women with UTIs often have strong urges to pee or habitually pee in small amounts.  You may also feel pelvic pain or a burning sensation, and you may have urine that is cloudy, appears red, pink, or brown, or has a potent smell. 

If you have any of these symptoms and/or suspect you may have a UTI, then you should seek medical attention right away. UTIs aren’t difficult to treat, but they can lead to serious complications when left untreated. 

Cranberry Juice for UTI: Does it really work?

UTIs may be incredibly common, but they are also incredibly annoying. Many women look to natural, at-home remedies to avoid or treat them, in an attempt to avoid the time, cost, and potential side effects of the antibiotics used to treat them. And this leads many women to wonder if drinking cranberry juice can help in healing or curing their UTI.

Unfortunately, cranberry juice and cranberry products, including supplements or whole cranberries, can’t help to cure UTIs once they have been developed. No studies show that drinking cranberries is good in treating UTI symptoms. The best way to heal a UTI that you have already contracted is to see a doctor immediately when you start to develop infections.1

Initially researchers thought cranberries could help protect us from infections if they made urine more acidic, which would make the urine less friendly for Escherichia coli (E coli) bacteria that normally cause the disease. While cranberry juice cannot reverse or treat an active infection, it has been shown to be an effective preventative treatment in some individuals. 

Unfortunately, cranberry supplements and juice do not have a standardized treatment protocol, and the effectiveness will vary from person to person with no clear understanding for how much is needed to be effective. 2

Our advice? Eat a healthy diet, take care of yourself, and if you like cranberry juice, drink away (just try to avoid the sugar-added varieties). You can learn about diet and UTIs here

More Ways To Treat & Prevent UTI’s

Antibiotics are the most common treatment method for treating UTIs. The pain and discomfort can be managed through over-the-counter pain medicine while you wait for a doctor’s appointment, which helps to greatly reduce the immediate side effects.

It is unlikely that home remedies will help completely eliminate UTIs, but there are certain lifestyle changes that may make them less likely. Drinking plenty of water, wearing loose and/or cotton pants, avoiding douching, and not holding your pee are all simple things to help reduce your risk. You can avoid acidic fruit and spicy foods, which might irritate your bladder. These steps are not a replacement for medical attention, and they certainly won’t cure your UTI, but they can certainly help reduce your risk of infection. 

That’s not to say you shouldn’t drink cranberry juice. How does cranberry juice help UTI? It can flush bacteria from your system without irritating the urinary tract.3

So cranberry juice for UTI may help prevent urinary tract infections, but it is not a replacement for medication or seeking medical attention when you think you may have a UTI. And always speak to your doctor about making any major changes to your diet, supplements, or lifestyle. To find a doctor who specializes in pelvic health in your area, use our Physician Finder.

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