Should you drink cranberry juice for that urinary tract infection or see your urogynecologist in the Woodstock area?
Millions of women have or will experience a urinary tract infection at some point in life. A urinary tract infection may be referred to as a UTI or a bladder infection, all one and the same when it comes to recognizing the telltale symptoms of this problem. For some women, UTIs may be a one-time nuisance. For others, urinary tract infections may seem to occur with alarming regularity.
Urinary tract infections may occur as a result of exposure to the E. coli bacterium. This type of bacteria is present in the gut and in the area around the anus, where microorganisms can more easily enter the pelvic region. Within the urinary tract exist factors that make it easy for microbes to attach themselves to internal tissues, namely the wall of the bladder. E. coli bacteria have projections from their center, somewhat like fingers, which give them the ability to stick to tissues within the urinary tract and bladder even through urination.
Cranberry juice for bladder infections
For many years, cranberry juice has been regarded as a cure for the average urinary tract infection. In laboratory testing, substances within cranberry juice were shown to have a positive impact, limiting the ability of the E. coli bacteria to stick. Laboratory testing, however, consisted of the insertion of cranberry juice directly onto bacterium. This is a far different scenario than what happens when cranberry juice is consumed and digested. Lab testing also does not account for the acidity of the bladder. What this means is that the efficacy of cranberry juice is not guaranteed. Though it may be tried, cranberry juice may not be an alternative to treatment with a skilled urogynecologist in the Woodstock area.
In several studies, the efficacy of cranberry juice in the prevention of urinary tract infections has been confirmed. This is an especially important fact for women who seem to be at a higher risk for infection. How cranberry juice seems to aid in UTI prevention is in its delivery of antioxidants to the body. As suggested by the study of cranberry juice on bacteria in a Petri dish, E. coli are less sticky in the presence of the cranberry juice substance. Further studies have shown that women who drink cranberry juice on a regular basis or take supplements tend to experience fewer urinary tract infections.
Studies also confirm, however, that cranberry juice or tablets is far less efficient at eliminating an active infection. Once symptoms of UTI occur, this means that bacteria have attached themselves to the wall of the urinary tract and bladder. At this point, the most effective way to eliminate bacteria and the subsequent infectious symptoms is with antibiotics.
Dr. Sanjay Gandhi has offices in Woodstock, Lake Forest, and Park City, Illinois. Contact us for more information on urinary tract infections and other pelvic health concerns.