A while back, I wrote about bladder infections. Today, we’ll dive into more detail about a great home remedy that really works to prevent and sometimes treat bladder infections.
Many of my patients have cranberry juice every day or a few times each week to keep the keep their bladders happy and healthy, and I recommend it. Here’s why:
New Evidence Proves What Women Already Know
It doesn’t take a genius to know that cranberry juice works. However, a very smart researcher, who also happens to be a woman, figured out how.
A study reported in Colloids and Surfaces showed that cranberry juice affects how “Bad Guy Bacteria” (we’ll call them: BGB) move and whether they can attach to the bladder and work their evil. BGBs cause frequent trips to the bathroom, when we don’t have the time & pain and torture when we get there. Studies in the past showed that cranberry juice made the bladder wall too slippery for BGBs to attach to. Wait, there’s more.
Here’s the science in case you’re interested, if not, just skip down a few paragraphs. It was thought that cranberry juice supercharged the muco-polysaccharides in the wall of bladder, which turned it into a giant waterslide so the BGBs couldn’t help but take a ride through the splash zone, out of the bladder where they were flushed away.
This new study went a step further and found that our friend, the hard working and affordable, cranberry juice also clamps a type of molecular straight jacket on the outside of BGBs so that they can’t move their hair-like arms (also called projections or fimbriae). This molecular straight jacket means they can’t hang on to the water slide, that we affectionately call the bladder wall, with their little hairy arms, and they are going bye bye and for a ride at the water park, and even though their mommies told them to “Hang On tight,” they just can’t. Bad news, for the bacteria, good news for us.
Low Down from the Researchers
Once digested, cranberry juice “changes the thermodynamic properties of bacteria in the urinary tract to form an energy barrier that prevents infections from developing…..Our results show that, at least for urinary tract infections, cranberry juice targets the right bacteria – those that cause disease – but has no effect on non-pathogenic organisms, suggesting that cranberry juice will not disrupt bacteria that are part of the normal flora in the gut,” said Terri Camesano, who is an associate professor of chemical engineering at Worcester Polytechnical Institute, WPI and the very smart researcher I mentioned earlier. See her press release here.
Any Type Will Work
She also found that regular cranberry juice cocktail and sugar-free cranberry juice are both effective in preventing urinary tract infections! Yea, so you can buy what you and your family prefer and still get the same benefit.
For any readers, who for whatever reason, are worried about bladder infections from new partners, their usual partners, or whatever, my advice is to: have a glass of sugar-free or regular cranberry juice each day.
Bottom line (no pun intended) is that cranberry juice works in 2 ways to help you avoid the pain and discomfort of a bladder infection.
As always, if you have symptoms of a bladder infection and you’re not feeling back to normal in a few days, go see your health care provider, and don’t wait, because bladder infections can lead to kidney infections and get very bad, very fast.
Is your bladder trying to tell you something else?