by Dr Danica Bonello Spiteri MD MRCP M.Sc.(SRM), M.Sc.(Sp.Biomech)
A 38 year old female runner reports repeated urinary tract infections, which were initially treated with repeated courses of antibiotics by her family doctor. She is fully aware of the implications of ingesting too much antibiotics, so she sought alternative solutions to try remove the cause at source.
Due to anatomical structure, females are more predisposed to developing urinary tract infections. This is since the urethra, which carries urine from the bladder to the outside is much shorter in women in comparison to men, hence it allows unwelcome bacteria to creep inside into the bladder and cause infections.
Cranberry is a natural fruit and it helps combat against urine infections. It does this by not allowing the bacteria to attach to the bladder wall, hence they get flushed out more easily when urine is expelled. This greatly helps reduce infections, especially when combined with drinking plenty of water, to ensure that urine is not concentred and helps keep the body well hydrated.
Cranberry extract can be used at the first signs of infection, which include burning sensation when passing urine, which at times may be blood stained, increased urinary frequency and urgency to rush to the toilet. Fever may also be present. If tackled at once, it may avoid the use of more potent antibiotics.
In cases of having repeated infections, regular use of cranberry extract can be one option of reducing and/or breaking this cycle.
Should symptoms of a urinary tract infection persist for more than a few days, despite taking cranberry extract, one should seek advise from a medical professional.