Read This Before Drinking Cranberry Juice To Treat A UTI

Just like an apple a day keeps the doctor away, cranberry juice keeps a UTI, or urinary tract infection, at bay. Or so most people think. According to Healthline, the truth is that, yes, cranberry juice has been documented to help prevent UTI-causing bacteria from growing and multiplying in various studies. However, it's not the end-all-be-all for avoiding the specific bacterial infection; we'll get into alternatives in the section below. Conversely, if you're already experiencing the painful symptoms of a UTI, know that the 8-oz can of Ocean Spray isn't your antidote.

Urinary tract infections make up 8 million trips to the doctor every year—mostly among women—and drinking cranberry juice or taking cranberry capsules is a popular strategy for preventing them (via WebMD). But why? Cranberries are naturally rich in phenolic acids, flavonoids, and proanthocyanidins, compounds that combat stubborn bacteria from clinging to the lining of our urinary organs, says BBC. While implementing cranberry products like juice or concentrated supplements into your diet indeed lowers your risk of this specific kind of infection, antibiotics are what will kill it. Using cranberry products in addition to antibiotics could help soothe uncomfortable UTI symptoms quicker in some folks, but Healthline shares that there isn't enough evidence out there to conclude that they do much during active infections. So, it's probably a good idea to opt for a doctor's visit instead of self-treating.

Other ways to prevent UTIs

While daily doses of cranberry are a good start, it's important to note that there are other ways to naturally prevent UTIs from developing. Staying hydrated is one of the easiest antimicrobial tactics out there. A study from JAMA Internal Medicine found that higher water intake among women with recurrent bacterial bladder inflammation leads to decreased UTI episodes. Specifically, women who added 1.5 liters of water to their normal daily intake experienced fewer recurring symptoms over 12 months. Drinking water does other wonders for our health, but go ahead and add UTI prevention to the list.

Another way to prevent bacterial buildup in the urinary tract is as simple as going to the bathroom when you need to. A study published in the Journal of International Medical Research found that waiting to urinate contributed to recurrent UTIs. So use the restroom frequently, when possible; it not only alleviates pressure on the bladder but also helps prevent bacteria buildup. Lastly, check out some probiotics. We know all about how kombucha and Activia aid in gut health, but adding certain beneficial bacteria to your morning regimen could yield promising results in the long-term fight against recurring UTIs (via Indian Journal of Medical Microbiology).