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NY Times: The Cure for UTIs? It’s Not Cranberries

October 31, 2016 — 

As the New York Times reports:

Misconception: Drinking buckets of cranberry juice can cure, and even prevent bladder, infections.

Actually: You may enjoy the taste (see: vodka) but it won’t cure and, probably, won’t prevent recurrence.

This purported remedy is centuries old and there is a considerable amount of research investigating it. While some studies suggest that cranberry may reduce repeated infections in younger women, it is certainly not a treatment for an active case. The gold standard for treatment is antibiotics. Sometimes doctors just recommend rest and ibuprofen.

“I was hoping it would work,” said Dr. Manisha Juthani-Mehta, an infectious disease specialist at the Yale School of Medicine, and the lead author of a study published Thursday in the journal JAMA, which showed no reduction in urinary tract infections for female nursing home patients who took standardized, high-dose cranberry capsules — the equivalent of 20 ounces of juice daily — for a year.

“I’m not sure it’s worth spending money on, particularly for patients on a fixed income, ” she said.

In a strongly worded editorial also in JAMA, Dr. Lindsay E. Nicolle, an expert on urinary tract infections, or UTIs, at the University of Manitoba, concluded that the evidence is “convincing that cranberry products should not be recommended as a medical intervention for the prevention of UTI.” She added that “clinicians should not be promoting cranberry use by suggesting that there is proven, or even possible, benefit.”

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