It’s one of those home remedies that gets passed around: If you have a UTI, drink cranberry juice to feel better until you can get to the doctor for a dose of antibiotics. But is this really true or just some made-up thing that gets repeated so much it starts to sound like fact? Unfortunately, experts haven’t gotten to the bottom of that question yet.
Before diving into what the research shows, here’s what is known about cranberries: They contain an ingredient that makes it tough for bacteria like E. coli to stick to the wall of the bladder and urinary tract. If the bacteria can’t stick, it gets peed out and never leads to an infection.
But what isn’t know is whether or not a glass of cranberry juice or dose of cranberry supplement has enough of that ingredient to really make a difference. Some studies show cranberry juice can help reduce how often UTIs happen in women who get them regularly. Others show it doesn’t really have an impact.
That said, many experts think that if you have recurring UTIs, there’s no harm (and possibly some benefit!) to drinking cranberry juice or taking cranberry supplements regularly. You might want to watch out from drinking cranberry juice cocktail though—that can be high in sugar and calories. As for actually treating an existing UTI, cranberry juice can’t do anything to make you feel better (you’re going to need a prescription for antibiotics for that).
LEARN MORE ABOUT UTIs
- The Truth About Urinary Tract Infections (Plus, Who’s Most At Risk)
- Reduce Your Chances of Getting a UTI with These Tips
- Sweaty Clothes Might Be to Blame for Your Chronic UTIs
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