Cranberry and UTI
Cranberry helps preventing Urinary Tract Infections (UTI)
Pregnant women have higher risk of developing urinary tract infections and several studies reveal that it is the most common infection during pregnancy (3-4) affecting 20% of pregnant women (2) compared with 3% of the female population between 15-50 years old (9). Pregnant women are predisposed to asymptomatic UTI (4), which is caused by several factors such as the physiological changes that occur in the urinary tract, the pressure increase in the ureters caused by the uterus and the relaxation of the muscles due to the progesterone.
If the UTI is not treated on time it can cause pyelonephritis, intrauterine growth restriction, preeclampsia, preterm delivery and cesarean delivery. The UTI can be cured with antibiotics but since it is much better not to take any antibiotics during pregnancy, many studies have been researching the cranberry as a natural way of preventing asymptomatic bacteriuria during pregnancy (8). Some studies have found a decrease between 41-57% in the ITU incidence in pregnant women taking cranberries as a treatment during pregnancy (5).
The cranberry also known as vaccinium macrocarpon is a native fruit from North America (6). It has been used since centuries for healing and preventing UTI (1,8) and its pharmacologic commercialization began in the XIX century (6). It is believed that the proanthocyanidins-tannins contained in cranberries protect against bacteria (1,9). Another study found out that cranberries reduce the incidence of UTI in a significant way after taking it during 12 months. (Cochrane, 2008)
Several studies have found out that the fructose and tannins contained in cranberries avoid the adhesion of the E. Coli bacteria's fimbriae in the urogenital epithelium (1,5-6,9). This bacteria is the cause of most of the urinary tract infections. Cranberries are also effective against other kinds of bacterias such as S. Aureus, Klebsiella pneumoniae, Pseudomona aeruginosa y Proteus Mirabilis (6).
Further, several studies have concluded that natural cranberry juice without sugar regularly taken during pregnancy does not cause risks and it is totally safe for healthy women.
1 Jepson RG, Craig JC. Cranberries for preventing urinary tract infections. Cochrane Database Syst Rev. 2008 Jan 23;(1):CD001321.
2. Hamdan HZ, Ziad AH, Ali SK, Adam I. Epidemiology of urinary tract infections and antibiotics sensitivity among pregnant women at Khartoum North Hospital. Ann Clin Microbiol Antimicrob. 2011 Jan 18;10:2.
3. Celen S, Oruç AS, Karayalçin R, Saygan S, Unlü S, Polat B, Danişman N. Asymptomatic bacteriuria and antibacterial susceptibility patterns in an obstetric population. ISRN Obstet Gynecol. 2011;2011:721872. Epub 2011 Jan 24.
4. Kehinde AO, Adedapo KS, Aimaikhu CO, Odukogbe AT, Olayemi O, Salako B. Significant bacteriuria among asymptomatic antenatal clinic attendees in Ibadan, Nigeria. Trop Med Health. 2011 Sep;39(3):73-6. Epub 2011 Sep 30.
5 Wing DA, Rumney PJ, Preslicka CW, Chung JH. Daily cranberry juice for the prevention of asymptomatic bacteriuria in pregnancy: a randomized, controlled pilot study. J Urol. 2008 Oct;180(4):1367-72. Epub 2008 Aug 15.
6. Dugoua JJ, Seely D, Perri D, Mills E, Koren G. Safety and efficacy of cranberry (vaccinium macrocarpon) during pregnancy and lactation. Can J Clin Pharmacol. 2008 Winter;15(1):e80-6. Epub 2008 Jan 18.
7. González-Chamorro F, Palacios R, Alcover J, Campos J, Borrego F, Dámaso D. La infección urinaria y su prevención. Actas Urol Esp. 2011. doi:10.1016/j.acuro.2011.05.002.
8. Beerepoot MA, ter Riet G, Nys S, van der Wal WM, de Borgie CA, de Reijke TM, Prins JM, Koeijers J, Verbon A, Stobberingh E, Geerlings SE. Cranberries vs antibiotics to prevent urinary tract infections: a randomized double-blind noninferiority trial in premenopausal women. Arch Intern Med. 2011 Jul 25;171(14):1270-8.
9. Rossi R, Porta S, Canovi B. Overview on cranberry and urinary tract infections in females. J Clin Gastroenterol. 2010 Sep;44 Suppl 1:S61-2.