New research has shown over 70% of women in Australia are unaware of a potential natural preventative for the common urinary tract infection (UTI) despite over 50% set to experience a UTI in their lifetime.
Prevention is better than cure is the theme for the 2008 Wee Week, a Kidney Health initiative for the promotion of urinary tract health. Joining forces with Kidney Health Australia (KHA), the US Cranberry Institute is urging women to consider prevention is better than cure when it comes to urinary tract infections.
According to Dr Tim Mathew, Medical Director of Kidney Health Australia, cranberries have been shown to be effective in the prevention of UTIs in general practice for women prone to recurrent infections.
“Studies have shown that cranberries may be effective as they contain unique compounds known as proanthocyanidins (PACs), which inhibit bacteria from adhering to the urinary tract wall,” said Dr Mathew.
“UTIs when recurrent can become resistant to antibiotics. The inherent properties of cranberries have been shown in controlled trials to be an effective alternative in preventing the problem in those with recurrent infections,” Dr Mathew added.
According to Anne Wilson, CEO of Kidney Health Australia, “Keeping an eye on your urinary health is important – much can be done to prevent infections from recurring and the cranberry option is one preventive measure that has been shown to be effective”.
For Dr Mathew, “Wee Week is a great reminder for people to look after their urinary and kidney health.”
Most commonly caused by the E.coli bacteria from the digestive system, UTIs can be extremely painful and inconvenient, can become progressively worse, and can cause significant loss of time from work. Common symptoms of UTIs include a burning sensation when passing urine, wanting to urinate more often, cloudy, bloody or unpleasant smelling urine or pain in the lower part of the body.
As recent studies suggest, a daily glass of cranberry juice or two cranberry supplements a day can help prevent UTIs from recurring. Research has shown that chemical properties of the cranberry prevent the bacteria from adhering to the urinary tract.
1. ‘Cranberry Awareness and Usage Study Australia’, Galaxy Research, January 2008
2. ‘Epidemiology of urinary tract infections: incidence, morbidity, and economic costs’, Foxman B, Am J Med 2002. Jul 8;113 Suppl 1A:5S-13S.