Can cranberry juice treat urinary tract infections?

07:03 PM Jan 19, 2023 | Sunanda Naik

Hyderabad: A Facebook post claiming that cranberry juice is an effective home remedy for urinary tract infections is doing the rounds on social media.

The viral post says that while coconut water is a natural diuretic, cranberry juice is more effective in treating UTIs.

“Coconut is a natural diuretic so it helps flush out bacteria from the urinary tract. However, a more effective strategy is to drink cranberry juice as it actually prevents E.coli bacteria, the bacteria most likely to cause urinary tract infection, attaching to the walls of urinary tract,” it reads.

Most people try to look for ways to avoid taking tablets or visiting a doctor. It won’t be wrong to say that nowadays, social media plays doctors for most people. But before you try coconut water or cranberry juice to treat UTIs, here’s what you must know.

Fact Check

NewsMeter found that the claim is merely a health myth.

According to Mayo Clinic, a urinary tract infection (UTI) is an infection in any part of the urinary system. The urinary system includes the kidneys, ureters, bladder, and urethra. Most infections involve the lower urinary tract—the bladder and the urethra. Women are at a greater risk of developing a UTI than men.

Houston Methodist says there are no studies that show that drinking cranberry juice or taking a cranberry supplement actually works to treat UTIs. This means you need to visit your doctor if you already have an infection.

A study, titled “Systematic review with meta-analysis: Cranberry-containing products are associated with a protective effect against urinary tract infections,” found a slightly positive result but it is important to note that the study also faced multiple fails and drop outs as the amount of cranberry juice required to get the desired result was too high to consume on a daily basis.

Another study, “Cranberries for treating urinary tract infections,” reported, “No studies were found which fulfilled all of the inclusion criteria. Three studies were excluded because they did not have any relevant outcomes and one study is ongoing, however, its current status is unknown.”

However, according to WebMD, “Some studies have found that drinking cranberry juice or taking cranberry pills can prevent UTIs, especially in women who are at risk for these infections. But others haven’t come to that conclusion.”

It added, “Cranberries don’t seem to work for everyone. And they don’t treat UTIs that you already have.”

Moreover, Healthline says, “Research shows that cranberry products like cranberry juice and cranberry extract supplements may reduce the risk of UTI recurrence in some people. Yet, there’s not enough evidence to suggest these products help treat an existing UTI.”

Similar findings were reported by Medical News Today.

From the above investigation, it is evident that depending on cranberry juice to treat a reoccurring infection like a urinary tract infection may lead to severe complications. It is always better to visit your doctor. Hence, the claim is false.