With the holidays fast approaching, lots of folks have cranberries on their minds—and in their kitchens. What many may not know, however, is that cranberries can be more than just another side dish on the dinner table. They actually contain compounds that can help prevent recurring urinary tract infections (UTIs).
UTIs are common, painful and often treatable bacterial infections of the bladder that send nearly 10 million people, most of them women, to the doctor every year. But there are steps you can take to prevent and treat these infections. As part of a new educational partnership, the National Kidney Foundation and the Cranberry Marketing Committee have compiled a list of the top 10 most important facts about UTIs.
- One in five women will have at least one UTI in their lifetime. Nearly 20 percent of these women will have another and 30 percent of those will have yet another. Of this last group, 80 percent will have recurrences.
- Women are more likely to develop UTIs than men because women have a shorter urethra, which makes it easier for bacteria to reach the bladder.
- Those at increased risk for UTIs also include diabetics and men with enlarged prostate glands.
- Common symptoms of UTIs include an urgent need to urinate, a burning feeling when urinating, an aching feeling, pressure or pain in the lower abdomen, cloudy or blood-tinged urine and a strong odor to your urine.
- If not treated promptly, the infection can travel up to the kidneys and cause more serious problems.
- To help prevent UTIs, you should drink plenty of fluids, avoid postponing going to the bathroom for extended amounts of time and empty your bladder completely before going to sleep.
- Studies show that drinking a glass of cranberry juice each day may help prevent recurrent UTIs. New research also suggests a similar effect from other cranberry products, including dried cranberries and dietary supplements. Cranberries contain compounds that may stop certain bacteria from attaching to the urinary tract wall. For those with diabetes or at-risk for diabetes, low-sugar or sugar-free options are available.
- Women, specifically, should wipe from front to back after going to the bathroom to prevent bacteria from the bowels from getting into the urinary tract. In addition, they should also cleanse the genital area every day and prior to having sex.
- To diagnose a UTI, your doctor will test a sample of your urine for bacteria and blood cells. This is called a urinalysis. It is important to get proper instruction on how to collect the urine specimen to avoid bacterial contamination.
- UTIs are treated with antibiotics. It is important to take the antibiotics exactly as you are told. It may also help to drink lots of water and other fluids and to urinate often, emptying your bladder each time.
To learn more about urinary tract infections visit www.myUThealth.org.
The Cranberry Marketing Committee represents the U.S. cranberry industry and was established as a Federal Marketing Order in 1962. The CMC promotes the use of cranberries through a generic promotions program. For more information, visit www.uscranberries.com.