Welcome, everyone! Thank you for joining us today.
My name is Stefanie and I'm part of the team here at MyVirtualPhysician. We are a direct to consumer, multi-specialty, telemedicine provider operating in multiple states.
Welcome to Talk Tuesday. We are continuing our weekly educational series, talking with our expert physicians, exploring some common healthcare concerns, and hopefully answering some questions you may have.
Today our physician expert is Dr. Salome Masghati, a practicing gynecologist and minimally invasive surgeon who is one of our telemedicine providers. We are talking about a complaint our doctors commonly see or treat, and that is URINARY TRACT INFECTIONS or UTIs.
Dr. Masghati, thank you for joining us today.
So let’s cut to the chase Dr. Masghati, can cranberries cure a UTI?
Dr. Salome Masghati:
Many people believe that cranberries or cranberry juice can treat a UTI, and the answer is it's complicated.
There have been many studies on cranberries as a UTI treatment, and research has shown that an active ingredient in cranberries called “proanthocyanidins,” or PCAs for short, is effective in preventing E. Coli bacteria, the most common cause of UTI infections, from attaching to the bladder wall lining and colonizing or creating an infection.
So PCAs or cranberries may help prevent a urinary tract infection but once there is already an infection, that treatment may not be effective.
A cup of cranberry juice may only contain a small amount of this active ingredient with a lot of sugar! Cranberry tablets or pills may be another option for prevention.
So if someone wants to try cranberry juice for prevention of a UTI, how much should you drink?
A recent article in Pharmacy Today recommends at least 36 mg of PAC daily.
For the prevention of UTIs, 300–500 mL of cranberry juice cocktail (26% cranberry juice) daily and 400–800 mg cranberry extract twice daily.
Or 36–72 mg of cranberry PAC equivalents per day, found in about 360–720 mg of cranberry extract, has been shown to be effective.2
The research shows some evidence that cranberry products may reduce the incidence of UTIs but the most effective amount and concentration of PACs that must be consumed and how long they should be taken are unknown.
So cranberry juice and cranberry extract tablets together may help prevent infections but what about someone who already has a UTI?
Truly if someone has an infection, either their body will be able to fight off the infection, or they may need an antibiotic medication to kill the bacteria that is causing the infection.
That’s interesting, so you say in some cases a UTI can go away on its own because the body is able to fight off the infection?
Yes, in some cases. Approximately 25-42% of the time these uncomplicated UTIs may resolve without any medical treatment.
Ok, so when would it be time for someone to see a doctor about their UTI?
Untreated infections can spread and become serious. You should talk to your doctor as soon as you suspect a UTI.
Also for signs such as fever, chills, flank pain, or abdominal pain with nausea or vomiting. These can be signs of a serious infection.
For someone who is going to make an appointment but has not yet, is there anything that they can do to manage the UTI?
There are some things you can do for relief, or even after you have seen your doctor while you are waiting for an antibiotic to work.
It is important to stay hydrated, drinking plenty of water flushes out the bladder.
When going to the bathroom it is important to try to empty the bladder completely. Some adults with UTI have a frequent urge to urinate or sensation of pressure in the low abdomen which can make it feel as though you need to urinate. Going to the bathroom frequently to empty the bladder can help.
If there is pain in the low abdomen a heating pad may provide some relief.
Over the counter pain relievers such as Motrin or Tylenol can also be taken to help with discomfort.
Dr. Masghati you have shared some great information today. I appreciate you joining us for Talk Tuesday and helping us understand more about UTIs and cranberry juice. For everyone else joining us as well, this has been Talk Tuesday with MyVirtualPhysician. If you would like to connect with one of our board certified OB/GYNs, or for more information you can check out our website at www.myvirtualphysician.com. We look forward to seeing you again and we hope you have a great week.