US Pharm. 2008;33(3):11.

A review of published studies by researchers in Scotland uncovered supporting evidence that drinking cranberry juice might reduce, or even prevent, urinary tract infections (UTIs) in women. The review appears in The Cochrane Library, an international organization that evaluates research in all aspects of health care.

The Cochrane reviewers, led by Ruth Jepson, a senior research fellow at the University of Stirling in Scotland found that cranberry products significantly reduced UTIs over 12 months compared to the placebo/control groups and was more effective in women who exhibited recurrent UTIs.

UTIs develop when there is a large concentration of bacteria in the urine that oftentimes presents with pain during urination. If left untreated, the infection could spread to the bladder and/or kidneys. It is believed that cranberries contain organic substances that act as antibacterial agents, thereby reducing or preventing the buildup of bacteria that can lead to a UTI. Roger Dmochowski, a professor of urology at Vanderbilt University Medical School and an expert on UTIs for the American Urological Association, cautions that while it is reasonable to use cranberry extract for many UTIs, the methodology does not apply to all UTIs. He adds that women who suffer from recurrent UTIs should still visit their physician to make sure their specific condition is being treated properly.

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