If you’ve ever had a Urinary Tract Infection, you’ll know just how horribly unpleasant an experience it can be. Pain when you pee, stomach cramps, feeling generally bleugh, er, no thanks! But when it comes to treating it, you know the score – cranberry juice is the UTI sufferer’s best friend, right? Well turns out, the whole chugging cranberry juice to both prevent and ease the symptoms of UTIs could in fact be one giant myth.
According to a recent study, dashing to Tesco’s to stockpile the cranberry juice might actually only give you a placebo effect in curing your cystitis.
The study, which was published in the Journal American Medical Association (JAMA), saw one group of female nursing home residents take two cranberry capsules every day for a year. The other group took a placebo.
They did this because UTIs are the most commonly diagnosed infection among nursing home residents.
Researchers discovered that there was no significant difference in presence of bacteria and white blood cells in the urine, which is a sign of urinary tract infection. There was also no difference among participants in the number of episodes of UTIs over the course of the year. Oh.
So where on earth did the cranberry myth come about in the first place?
It seems there is some truth in it. According to experts, cranberries do contain proanthocyanidins (PACs) which help stop bacteria from attaching to you bladder and urinary tract walls.
The problem is that most of the juices available don’t have enough PACs to make it a properly beneficial cure.
“Although our study was only in nursing home women, many other studies have been done in other populations, which have not shown a benefit,” said study author Dr. Manisha Juthani-Mehta.
If you’re one of the unlucky half of UK women who’ll get at least one UTI in their lifetime, the NHS website suggests avoiding perfumed soaps, wearing cotton-only underwear and staying hydrated are some of the best defences to UTIs.
If you suspect you have contracted a UTI experts recommend seeking medical help from your GP. The main form of treatment is antibiotics, but over the counter painkillers could also help ease the pain of symptoms, while drinking water is also recommended. Symptoms should clear up within 4-5 days.
Do you turn to the cranberry juice when you have a UTI? Let us know @YahooStyleUK