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Urinary Tract Infection and Cranberry

By: Corinna Underwood - Updated: 1 Jul 2013 | comments*Discuss
Urinary Tract Infection Cranberry Urine

Urine is a natural disinfectant. It eliminates waste products, but retains nutrients needed by the body. The average adult passes about a litre and a half of urine each day. The amount of urine will vary, depending on the amount of fluids and foods you consume. The volume formed at night is usually about half that formed during the daytime.

What is a Urinary Tract Infection?

Infections of the urinary tract are the second most common type of infection.They occur when bacteria are introduced into the urinary tract. Urinary Tract Infections (UTIs) are medically known as cystitis and affect the lower urinary tract (bladder and urethra). Almost 85% of urinary tract infections are caused by Escherichia coli, a bacterium that is normally found in the intestines. UTIs are characterized by an urgent desire to empty the bladder. Urination is typically frequent and painful. Often, even after the bladder has been emptied, there may be an immediate desire to urinate again. The urine usually has a strong, unpleasant odor and may appear cloudy. Cystitis may lead to kidney infection if left untreated.

Who Suffers From Urinary Tract Infections?

Women are particularly prone to urinary tract infections. One woman in five develops a UTI during her lifetime. One factor is that the urethra is shorter in females than males, and is closer to bacteria from the vagina and rectum, (urine itself does not carry bacteria). Another factor is that more women tend to have jobs where it is not easy to frequent the restroom, (i.e. shop assistants , bank workers, receptionists, farmers etc.), making it necessary to hold the bladder for longer periods of time. Some forms of birth control, such as some spermicides, can also contribute to urinary tract infections. Oddly enough, women with large bladders tend to have urinary tract infections more often because the bladder can hold more urine, leading to a buildup of wastes that need to exit the body.

How can Cranberry Cure Urinary Tract Infections?

German researchers were examining the effects of cranberries on UTIs as early as the 1840s. Today, we know that cranberry juice produces hippuric acid in the urine, which lowers the pH and prevents bacteria from adhering to the bladder. It is also a good source of vitamin C. Drinking 4 to 6 ounces of unsweetened cranberry juice daily has been shown to have a preventative effect of urinary tract infection. Cranberry extract may be purchased in capsule from your local health store. The advantage of this form is that it does not contain the added sugar, which many concentrated juice extracts have had added. Cranberry capsules should always be taken with a large glass of water.

Other Advice:
  • Drink plenty of fluids
  • Do not hold urine longer than absolutely necessary
  • When using the bathroom, wipe from front to back
  • During your menstrual cycle, change your pad often to prevent the buildup of bacteria
  • Supplements such as Vitamin C can help prevent urinary tract infections.

There can be other forms of Urinary Tract Infections that can be more serious such as urethritis and nephritis. Symptoms of these include blood in the urine, and a fever of over 100 degrees. If the symptoms of urinary tract infection last for more than two days, it is recommended that you see a doctor.

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