Stop Those Urinary Tract Infections – Cranberry Juice to the Rescue

Recurrent urinary tract infections are common in many women and in some men. Their symptoms of frequency, burning on urination, and urgency of urination are bothersome and can impact the quality oflife of those who are affected. The treatment for an acute urinary tract infection (UTI) consists of drinking addition water and antibiotics. Also effective is the use of cranberry juice. This article will review the benefits of using cranberry juice to prevent UTIs.

Most urinary tract infections are caused by bacteria from the colon and rectal area. The most common of these bacteria, E. Coli. is responsible for over 90% of all UTI. He. Coli and other bacteria usually enter the urinary tract through the urethra, a tube that carries urine out of the body. Once inside the body, E. Coli uses special hairnlike structures called P.-fimbria to stick to the wall of the bladder. Once attached to the bladder wall, the bacteria can multiply, causing a UTI.

Risk factors for UTIs

Women are more prone to UTIs then men because the female urethra is shorter, and therefore provides less of a barrier to the entry of bacteria. Sexual activity it is a risk factor for UTIs because intercourse can increase the chance that bacteria trom the rectal and vaginal area will enter the urethra. Menopause is also a risk factor, since the reduced level of estrogen permits the overgrowth of bacteria in the area of the urinary opemng.

Cranberry juice to the rescue

Some individuals develop recurrent UTIs, sometimes several per year, and a growing body of evidence now confirnls that cranberry products can reduce the risk of future UTIs. No known treatment can prevent UTIs hundred percent of the time, but clinical trials show that it leads the majority of people benefit from taking cranberry products. These products, when taken in appropriate dosages, are safe and effective. So, although cranberries can treat a UTI you currently have, he can help reduce the risk of having a future infection.

Most urinary tract infections occur when bacteria enter through the urethra and then stick to the wall of the bladder. Recent research has revealed a cranberry contain a class of compounds called proanthocyanidins, which bind to the bacteria and prevent it from sticking to the bladder wall. This makes it easier for the bacteria to be tlushed out in the urine before a UTI can start.

Approximately 8-10 ounces of 27% cranberry juice cocktail has been shown to reduce UTI risk. This amount of juice contains an average of 30-35 mg proanthocyanidins. For those trying to manage their weight, the extra calories from drinking cranberry juice cocktail contains approximately 175 calories, which, if consumed daily, can result in significant weight gain if the excess calories aren’t burned through exercise or physical activity. A cranberry supplement can provide a low-calorie alternative to the high calorie liquid drink.

All cranberry products contain some proanthocyanidins, but the amount varies dramatically between products. Therefore it is important to choose a product that has been independently tested and certified for proanthocyanidin content. If the actual content of proanthocyanidins in a cranberry supplement has not been measured and independently certified, the efficacy of that product is uncertain. Most health food stores can provide this nutritional supplement.

Bottom line: Recurrent urinary tract infections are a common affliction and can easily be treated with antibiotics. IIowever. cranberry juice can be an effective prophylaxis against these uncomfortable and occasionally incapacitating infections.

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