Why are cranberries efficient to prevent urinary infections such as Cystitis?

  • Cystitis is a common urinary tract infection (UTI) that can cause pain or burning when urinating, frequent urination, and pressure at the groin or lower abdomen. 
  •  Cranberry products may reduce the risk of symptomatic UTIs in women
with recurrent UTIs, children and those who have undergone bladder surgery, according to a review by the Cochrane Library, an organization that conducts high-level quality scientific reviews. 
  • To prevent cystitis, the CDC advises staying hydrated, showering instead of bathing, and minimizing the use of talcum powder or sprays in the genital area.


Urinary tract infections (UTIs) occur when bacteria enter the urethra and infect the urinary tracts, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC). Bladder cystitis is more common especially for women. Cranberries (Vaccinium macrocarpon in Latin) have been used for years to prevent it, as indicated by several investigations. But are they effective? We tell you what science says about it.

Cranberries can help prevent cystitis in some cases, according to a review

The supposed effectiveness of cranberries in preventing cystitis is due to proanthocyanidins (PACs), a series of substances that, in theory, minimize the adhesion of the Escherichia coli bacteria to the urinary tract.

In the past, analysis by the Cochrane Library – an organization that conducts high-quality scientific reviews- stated that it could not recommend cranberry juice to prevent cystitis with the available evidence.

But a new revision published by this organization in April 2023 concluded that cranberry products (either in juice, tablets, or powder) may help prevent UTIs that cause symptoms in women who often get them, children and people who have undergone bladder surgery.

The current evidence does not support its use in the elderly, patients with bladder emptying problems or pregnant women, according to the authors of the investigation.

The authors also point out that the exact intake dose of proanthocyanidins required to reduce the risk of suffering from them is still unknown. "Currently there is no established regimen for the dose of PAC to be used and there is no formal regulation by the health authorities of cranberry products," they point out.

They also point out that more research is needed to determine if cranberry products are more or less effective when it comes to preventing UTIs compared to antibiotics or probiotics.

Other advice to prevent cystitis and what to do if infection is suspected

To prevent UTIs, the CDC advises urinating after sex, staying well hydrated, showering instead of using the tub, minimizing douching or using talcum powder or sprays in the genital area, and teaching girls when they are learning to go to the bathroom, to wipe themselves from front to back

The revision published by Cochrane Library shows that UTIs are a public health issue, because it affects more than 150 million people worldwide every year.

Some signs that can make you suspicious that you might have cystitis it’s pain or burning while urinating, feeling pressure in your groin or lower abdomen, blood in urine or you have the urge to urinate frequently, despite the fact that your bladder is empty.

If you think you may have a UTI, it's best to talk to a healthcare professional. According to the CDC: “Most UTIs can be treated at home with antibiotics prescribed by a health care professional. However, some cases may require hospital treatment."

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Primera fecha de publicación de este artículo: 23/06/2023

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