For frequent UTIs, antibiotics work better than cranberries

The Los Angeles Times “Booster Shots” blog reported that, according to a study published in the Archives of Internal Medicine, “women who have recurrent urinary tract infections will find more relief from antibiotics” than from eating cranberries, although women who took antibiotics experienced significantly more antibiotic resistance than those who took cranberry capsules.

The New York Times reports in “Vital Signs” that the study found that by “any of three measures — the number of symptomatic infections, the proportion of patients with at least one infection or the average time to the first infection after starting the regimens — antibiotics controlled the infections more effectively in the study participants.”

According to a report from MSNBC, Perelman School of Medicine OB/GYN assistant professor Megan Schimpf cautions that women should not attempt home treatment of UTIs, since “women can sometimes mix up urinary tract infections with vaginal infections with yeast or bacteria,” and UTIs can worsen and spread to the kidneys. For her own patients, Schimpf prescribes cranberries combined with Hiprex (methenamine), which metabolizes “into a compound in the urine that makes it very unfavorable for bacteria to grow.”

MedPage Today reported that the researchers noted that “recent data — not available when they began their study – suggested that a daily dose of 72 mg of proanthocyanidins could protect against urinary tract adherence of bacteria – a dose considerably higher than the 9.1 mg/g used.”

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