Cranberry juice is not so good after all for bladder infections
17th October 2012
Cystitis is a condition that many may not have heard about, but it is a common health complaint that many will suffer from at least once during their lifetime. Also known as a lower urinary tract infection, cystitis occurs when the lining of the bladder becomes inflamed and causes a stinging/painful sensation upon urination, or an urgent need to urinate quite frequently. It is commonly brought-on by bacteria entering your bladder via the urethra - the tube where urine passes through to get out of your body from the bladder. In addition to infection, cystitis can also happen due to irritation or bruising of your urinary tract caused by friction during sexual intercourse. Due to this, it is sometimes given the moniker of ‘the honeymoon disease’. Because women have a short urethra, the condition is more prominent in females compared to men and it is thought that all women will suffer from cystitis at least once during their life. The high-risk groups are: pregnant women, sexually active women and post-menopausal women. For a number of years, many women have been under the illusion that cranberry juice works as some kind of miracle treatment for a number of bladder infections such as cystitis. However contrary to popular belief, scientists are now shattering this myth and saying cranberry juice is largely ineffective for this purpose. Spanning back several decades, high numbers of women have been drinking cranberry juice to treat mild cystitis or to try and stop a recurring infection (known as recurrent cystitis). This is down to many GPS urging them to try it as it will cause no harm and possibly help due to compounds in cranberries working to prevent bacteria attaching to cells lining the walls of the urinary tract. It is the sugars and plant pigments called flavonoids that can supposedly combat infections and get rid of harmful bacteria. Therefore, a team of researchers from the University of Sterling decided to look into the issue a little further. They collated data contained in 24 different studies that in total involved a massive 4,473 people. In the studies, patients had been assigned a whole variety of things to treat their complaints such as cranberry juice, tablets and antibiotics, or placebos such as just water. After thorough analysis of the studies, researchers strongly argue than cranberry juice is a lot less effective than first thought. They say that the juice may be useful to some extent for women who suffer from recurrent cystitis; however any possible benefit would only be seen after many months of drinking a minimum of two glasses of juice daily. Lead researcher Ruth Jepson commented, “We can’t see a particular need for more studies of the effect of cranberry juice, as the majority of existing studies indicate that the benefit is small at best. More studies of other cranberry products such as tablets and capsules may be justified but only for women with recurrent UTIs, and only if these products contain the recommended amount of active ingredient.” A much better option for those suffering with cystitis is the most widely prescribed antibiotic for the condition; Trimethoprim. This treatment is used to fight both cystitis and various other urinary tract infections. This wonderful antibiotic is highly effective and is estimated to cure approximately 90% of urine infections. You can obtain 6 x 200mg Trimethoprim tablets for the low price of £16.50 at Medical Specialists.