Cranberry for Cystitis

Author: Corinne Bett   Date Posted:24 September 2015 

Do you keep getting urinary tract infections? Well, look no further, cranberry to the rescue. Cranberry extract has been shown to be an effective treatment as well as helping to prevent and reduce the incidence of recurrent lower urinary tract infections (UTI).

A study performed this year in Italy found that Cranberry extract tablets administered daily to patients who had been suffering recurrent lower UTI’s over a period of 2 months, reduced the recurrence of these UTI’s by 73%.

What are Recurrent Urinary Tract Infections?

UTI’s are caused by bacteria present in the urinary tract, most often the E. coli bacteria, and are common in both men and women; with up to 50% of adult women estimated to be affected. Recurrent UTI’s are diagnosed as when you have experienced more than three UTI’s in one year, or two in a six month period.

What can be done to prevent these infections?

Take a Cranberry supplement! In this particular study, great results were found with Cranberry being administered to women with recurrent UTI’s over a period of 2 months. Cranberry extract was administered once daily to 22 women, while the other 22 women in the study were administered a placebo. Both groups undertook general hygiene and lifestyle advice.

The group taking the Cranberry supplement had their UTI’s reduced by 73%, while the placebo group only had their UTI’s reduced by 15%. 30% of those participants administered cranberry experienced symptomatic relief of their urinary symptoms, while the placebo group had no resolution of these symptoms. At the end of the study, the participants’ urine was tested, checking for blood and bacteria.

There was no blood or bacteria found in 90% of the participants who were treated with Cranberry, whilst in the placebo group 50% were found to still have this bacteria and or blood in their urine.

How can Cranberry help to prevent Recurrent Urinary Tract Infections?

The active plant constituents, proanthocyanadins, found in Cranberry have been found to prevent the adherence of a strain of E. coli to the uro-epithelial cells in the urinary tract. The polyphenols in Cranberry, in both dried and extract form, may stop bacteria adhering to the cells of the lower urinary tract. Cranberry is also thought to reduce the inflammatory component associated with UTI’s.

What else can I do to prevent Cystitis?

  1. Drink plenty of water - 1.5-2L water daily is ideal.
  2. Use good hygiene - After urinating, wipe from front to back.
  3. Don’t hold on – go to the toilet when you need to.
  4. Avoid wearing tight fitting, synthetic underwear.
  5. Avoid caffeine, chilli and alcohol.

Fun fact: Fresh Cranberries can bounce!

The air pockets in the cranberry make them bounce back, and this is often a test performed to test how ripe a Cranberry is. And you, just like a Cranberry can bounce back from a bout of Cystitis with some trusty Cranberry! If you’re experiencing recurrent UTI’s seek medical attention and try supplementing some cranberry for cystitis as a preventative!

References available upon request
Written by Corinne Bett

Corinne spent her childhood helping her mother and grandfather in the garden grow various herbs and vegetables. This sparked a great interest in herbal medicine and nutrition in later life, and a passion for a wholefood diet. As a Naturopath today, she likes to empower others to utilise food as medicine, and live a healthy and balanced lifestyle. In her spare time she like to spend time in nature bushwalking and swimming, adventuring in far and exotic places, and dreaming about what kind of dog she might like to have one day.