A new study has suggested that cranberry may be effective in preventing urinary tract infection recurrence in generally healthy women.
Urinary tract infection (UTI) affects over 150 million people annually worldwide. The most common form of UTI is cystitis, a sporadic uncomplicated UTI in the bladder of otherwise healthy individuals. Complicated UTI is less common and is associated with a structural or functional abnormality as well as those that occur in women during pregnancy. The most common therapeutic approach to UTI is the use of antibiotics such as fluoroquinolones. However, women with recurrent UTI often require multiple antibiotic regimens within short periods of time. This use of antibiotics increases women’s risk of developing antibiotic resistance.
Cranberry is often used by women to prevent UTI. Several clinical studies suggest that consumption of cranberry juice or cranberry supplements may decrease UTI occurrence in healthy women. Recently, a systematic review by the Canadian Agency for Drugs and Technologies in Health found five studies with evidence of clinical efficacy for a reduced risk of UTI with cranberry.
A team led by Dr. Mei Chung undertook this systematic review and meta-analysis to evaluate the evidence of cranberry in the prevention of UTI among generally healthy women. In their analysis, the researchers applied strict inclusion criteria to select trials that enrolled healthy women only and assessed uncomplicated UTI as the outcome. Researchers found in their meta-analysis that cranberry can be a potential nonpharmacologic approach for generally healthy women to prevent an uncomplicated recurrent UTI. However, studies were generally small, with only 2 having over 300 participants. Further studies are needed to confirm these findings.
The results from this study were published in the Journal of Nutrition.