Entries in Urinary Tract Infection (3)


Cranberry Juice Not Good for Bladder Infections

Daniel Acker/Bloomberg via Getty Images(NEW YORK) -- For years, cranberry juice has been touted as the natural way to prevent and treat bladder and urinary tract infections (UTI).  But a comprehensive review of studies has found the claims have been overhyped.

Certain sugars and a type of enzyme called flavanol found in cranberries have been thought to prevent infections by keeping bacteria from clinging to cells in the urinary tract.

Results from a review of 24 studies that included nearly 5,000 people suggest that cranberry juice may only be helpful in a select few women.  Women with recurrent UTIs are the most likely to benefit from the juice.  But regular women would need to drink at least two glasses of it a day over a long period of time to prevent an infection, the researchers said.

However, it's unclear whether cranberry-based products, such as pills, may be able to offer more of a benefit than juice.

"More studies of other cranberry products such as tablets and capsules may be justified, but only for women with recurrent UTIs, and only if these products contain the recommended amount of active ingredient," said Ruth Jepson of the University of Stirling in the U.K., the lead researcher of the review.

Copyright 2012 ABC News Radio


Cranberries or Antibiotics for Prevention of Infections?

Jupiterimages/Thinkstock(LITTLE ROCK, Ark.) -- Urinary tract infections (UTIs) are quite common with almost half of all women experiencing at least one in their lifetime.  Although it’s not completely clear how they work, it is not uncommon for cranberries and cranberry products to be used for UTI prevention by women who develop recurrent infections -- a condition for which they are usually prescribed preventative low-dose antibiotics.  

Although cranberries have had some observed effectiveness in UTI prevention, how do the little red berries stack up against the low-dose antibiotic?  According a new study published in Archives of Internal Medicine, not very well.
Researchers at the College Pharmacy at University of Arkansas for Medical Sciences gave either a daily low-dose antibiotic or cranberry capsules to 221 women for a period of 12 months.  They then measured the frequency of UTI symptoms.  They found that women taking the low-dose antibiotic had an average of 1.8 UTI recurrences compared to four recurrences for women taking cranberry capsules.  

So it seems that antibiotics are more effective at preventing recurrent UTIs than cranberry capsules.  But taking the antibiotics also increased the rate of antibiotic resistance of the bacteria causing the infections. The authors stated that because “many women are afraid of contracting drug-resistant bacteria using long-term antibiotic prophylaxis [preventative treatment]...cranberry prophylaxis may be a useful alternative despite its lower effectiveness.”

Copyright 2011 ABC News Radio


UTI Researchers Trying to Alleviate 'Considerable Human Misery'

Photo Courtesy - Getty Images(ANN ARBOR, Mich.) -- Harry L.T. Mobley has devoted the better part of 25 years to alleviating the "considerable human misery" created by bacteria that make themselves a little too at-home in millions of women's urinary tracts.

Working six days a week, Mobley and the dozen researchers in his University of Michigan lab are trying to develop a nasal spray vaccine for urinary tract infections, to keep these rugged invaders from sticking to the bladder, climbing into kidneys and inflicting a torrent of itching, burning, and frequent urination.

Despite the team's purposeful labors, a safe and effective vaccine for urinary tract infections remains at least a decade off, Mobley figures.

"It's painful to say that, because it's such an urgent need," Mobley, a bacteriologist who chairs the department of microbiology and immunology at Michigan, told ABC News in an interview this week.  "Women that get repeated infections -- and I mean one after another and another -- represent about 2.6 percent of all women.  These are the ones we get e-mails from that are totally miserable."

Urinary tract infection is second only to respiratory infection as the most common contagious malady.  It disproportionately plagues women, who can be stricken with the pain, pelvic pressure and associated symptoms at many stages of life: when they become sexually active, during pregnancy, around menopause, and in later years if they're hospitalized or in nursing homes.

Although few cases prove fatal, recurrent infections -- more than three a year -- of the bladder (cystitis) or kidneys (pyelonephritis) exact an enormous economic toll in medical costs and lost work days.  There is a psychological cost too: sufferers feel debilitated and worried that something as enjoyable as sexual activity could lead to another infection.

Copyright 2011 ABC News Radio

ABC News Radio