I had a urinary tract infection recently and my doctor told me to drink plenty of fluids. How much should I drink? Also, my friend told me that if I drink cranberry juice it could help prevent these infections. Is this true?
I don’t blame you for wanting to avoid this type of annoying infection that can have you running to the bathroom with the feeling that you have to urinate, only to produce a pittance of urine. Interestingly, women are more prone to getting urinary tract infections (UTI) than men. In fact, one in five women will experience a UTI sometime in her life. Not exactly a statistic to celebrate.
Believe it or not, normal urine is sterile. (Who knew?) While it contains fluid, salts, and waste products, it’s supposed to be free of troublesome bacteria, viruses and fungi. A urinary tract infection can occur when microorganisms cling to the opening of the urethra, the draining tube from the bladder, and begin to multiply.
Drinking plenty of fluids is important to help flush out any bacteria from the urinary tract. The American Medical Association recommends drinking at least 8 to 10 cups of water daily to keep UTI at bay, even more if you are active or if it’s hot outside. Here are some other preventative tips.
While large amounts of cranberry juice may inhibit the growth of some bacteria, unfortunately, the key word here is “large.” “There appears to be evidence that there is something in cranberries that has been shown to inhibit bacteria growth,” claims Lindsey Kerr, M.D., spokesperson for the American Urological Association, “but you would probably have to drink huge amounts of cranberry juice daily to reap the benefits.”
If you want to switch over to some cranberry juice in the morning and/or with an afternoon snack, it probably wouldn’t hurt, and it’s definitely a sweet way to get some fluids in. But before you start guzzling it all day, keep in mind that cranberry juice packs in over 100 calories for each 3/4 cup. Few of us can calorically afford to be drinking any kind of juice all day long.
So what about diet cranberry juice, you say? I’m already ahead of you. Diet cranberry juice may have the same antibacterial activity, but more needs to become known, according to Kerr.