The first line of treatment for a urinary tract infection (UTI) is antibiotics. However, some people may take cranberry supplements or drink cranberry juice to reduce their risk of developing one. Research is conflicted about whether cranberry juice is an effective method of treatment or prevention.
A note about sex and gender
Sex and gender exist on spectrums. This article will use the terms “male,” “female,” or both to refer to sex assigned at birth. Click here to learn more.
UTIs occur when bacteria enter the urethra and infect the urinary tract. The urinary tract includes the urethra, bladder, ureter, and kidney. UTIs are
According to a
Most UTIs resolve within
This article takes a look at how drinking cranberry juice may play a part in preventing UTIs and highlights some other evidence-based home remedies and treatment methods.
Learn about some other health benefits of cranberry juice here.
Many people drink cranberry juice in the hopes of preventing a UTI from developing. However, the
According to the National Kidney Foundation, raw cranberries contain antioxidant proanthocyanidins, or PACs, that can prevent bacteria from attaching to the walls of the urinary tract.
According to an older
It is important to note that this study included those with
Results from using cranberry juice may differ for those with uncomplicated UTIs. An uncomplicated UTI is a UTI that occurs in those with normal urinary and kidney functions.
People with painful bladder syndrome, also known as interstitial cystitis, should avoid drinking cranberry juice as it can worsen their symptoms.
While cranberry products may help some people prevent UTI recurrence, there is no evidence-based research that proves drinking cranberry juice can cure or improve the symptoms of an active UTI.
However, according to one
There is not enough evidence to suggest that cranberry products can reduce or improve the symptoms of an active UTI.
Learn more about cranberries here.
Some research suggests that up to
People who get
Learn about D-Mannose, a supplement that may help alleviate and prevent UTIs.
Antibiotics are the standard treatment method for UTIs. However, the type of medication prescribed and the length of treatment will depend on the person’s symptoms and medical history.
- nitrofurantoin (Macrodantin and Macrobid)
- fosfomycin (Monurol)
- trimethoprim-sulfamethoxazole (Bactrim and Septra)
People who experience recurrent UTIs might
- taking an antibiotic after sexual intercourse
- taking a long-term, low-dose antibiotic for up to 6 months
- taking a 3-day course of antimicrobials if symptoms reappear within 48 hours of initial treatment
- seeing a licensed acupuncturist
- undergoing vaginal estrogen therapy
Learn more about antibiotics here.
A person can try the following to ease symptoms of a UTI:
- try to drink
2–3 liters (l)of water each day
- use a heating pad to help manage the pain or discomfort
- avoid drinks
such asalcohol or caffeine
- take sodium bicarbonate to reduce the acidity of the urine
- take over-the-counter painkillers, such as acetaminophen or ibuprofen
If a person decides to drink cranberry juice to help prevent or treat a UTI, they should opt for an unsweetened juice.
A person can take the following measures to minimize their risk of developing a UTI:
According to one
Although there is no set recommendation for how much water a person should drink daily, one study showed that drinking
Learn more about UTIs in older people here.
Wipe from front to back
For females, wiping from front to back may help
Wiping in this manner prevents germs and bacteria from coming in contact with the urethra. In addition to wiping from front to back, people should use separate pieces of toilet paper to wipe the genitals and anus.
Learn about other urethral infections and conditions here.
Urinate when the urge strikes
Learn about urine hesitancy here.
To prevent a potential UTI from developing, people should urinate as soon as they feel the need to do so. Other methods to help prevent UTIs include:
- urinating before and after intercourse
- practicing good sexual hygiene
- avoiding scented feminine products, including douches and scented pads or tampons
- taking probiotic supplements or eating fermented foods, such as yogurt and kefir
- limiting alcohol and caffeinated drinks
People who have one or more of the following
- urinary frequency or a constant urge to urinate
- burning sensations while urinating
- red or pink-colored urine
- cloudy urine
- strong-smelling urine
- pelvic pain in females
While drinking cranberry juice may reduce recurrent UTIs for some people, cranberry juice and other cranberry products are unlikely to treat an active UTI infection.
Many health professionals still consider taking antibiotics the gold standard of UTI treatments. However, this is not always the case.
People who suspect they have a UTI should consult their doctor before trying to treat the infection themselves.