william armstrong

Dr. William R. Armstrong

About 60 percent of women will experience a urinary tract infection (UTI) at some point in their life. One of the most widely held beliefs about UTIs is that you can prevent or even cure a UTI by drinking cranberry juice.

Cranberries contain A-type proanthocyanidins, an active ingredient that may prevent the adherence of bacteria to the bladder wall. However, most studies suggest that both pure cranberry juice and cranberry supplements do not have enough of the active ingredient to prevent bacteria from sticking to the urinary tract walls.

The clinical studies on the effectiveness of cranberry juice in UTI prevention are conflicting. Some studies show a reduction, while others do not. According to the American Urological Association’s guidelines on recurrent UTIs in women, clinicians may offer cranberry supplements as there is little risk associated with these supplements.

If you struggle with frequent UTIs, cranberry juice won’t hurt, but there is no guarantee that it will help.

To prevent UTIs and to help with symptoms, try making the following changes to your diet:

  • DO drink lots of water. This will help flush bacteria out of your urinary system.
  • DO take probiotics, such as plain Greek yogurt or fermented foods like pickles. They contain good bacteria to help combat the bad bacteria.
  • DO eat plenty of fiber. Constipation can cause pressure on the urinary tract, which can block urine flow and allow bacteria to grow. Adding more fiber to your diet, along with more water, helps with healthy digestion and regular bowel movements.
  • DON’T drink alcohol, coffee or other sources of caffeine until any infection is fully treated. They can irritate your bladder.
  • DON’T eat spicy foods. They can irritate your bladder.
  • DON’T eat a lot of acidic fruit, like oranges or lemons, while you have an infection. They can also irritate your bladder.

For more information on bladder health, visit https://uthealtheasttexas.com/services/urology

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William R. Armstrong III, MD, is a board-certified urologist at UT Health East Texas Urology Center in Tyler.