Cranberry Extract for Bladder Infection
DISCLAIMER: This article has been written for informational and educational purposes only and is not intended to be a substitute for professional medical advice, diagnosis, or treatment.
Cranberry extract has a long history of therapeutic use to treat or prevent a range of urinary tract infections (UTIs) including bladder infection for centuries. Modern scientific studies have also supported its historical uses in most cases.
Bladder infection is the most common type of urinary tract infection (UTIs). Women are more susceptible to bladder infection than men. Cranberry extract has been described to have tremendous medicinal properties to cure and prevent bladder infection naturally.
In this article, we’ll discuss how cranberry extract can help with bladder infection naturally according to scientific studies. But, let’s start with the basics of bladder infection first.
Table of contents
- What is a bladder infection?
- Symptoms of bladder infection
- Causes of bladder infection
- Risk factors for bladder infections
- What is cranberry extract?
- How cranberry extract can help with bladder infections
- How to use cranberry extract
- Precautions and side effects
- Final words
What is a bladder infection?
Bladder infection, also known as cystitis, is the most common type of urinary tract infection (UTIs) in which infection takes place in the bladder. It’s often caused by bacterial infection but sometimes yeast infection may also be involved.
Females are at higher risks of developing a bladder infection than are males. A bladder infection can be annoying and painful and sometimes may lead to serious health consequences if it spreads to other parts such as the kidneys.
Symptoms of bladder infection
The signs and symptoms of bladder infections may vary depending on the harshness of the conditions. Some common symptoms may include:
- Lower abdomen discomfort
- Painful urination with a burning sensation
- Pelvic pressure
- Increased frequency
- Inability to clear bladder properly
- passing small amounts of urine frequently
- Sudden and strong urge to urinate
- Cloudy and strong-smelling urine
- Blood in urine
Causes of bladder infection
This type of infection is often caused by bacteria, mostly E. coli (Escherichia coli), a group of bacteria normally found in the gastrointestinal (GI) tract. However, some yeasts or other bacteria may also cause bladder infections as well especially in people who have a weakened immune function.
Besides, sexual intercourse may also develop a bladder infection, but it’s not common. Women are at higher risks of bladder infection compared to men due to their anatomy particularly the short distance between the urethral opening and the bladder, making it easy to enter bacteria into the bladder.
Risk factors for bladder infections
Though women are more prone to develop bladder infections, both men as well as women can get this type of infection. There’re various risk factors for both men and women. Some of them may include:
- Female anatomy
- Sexual activity
- Certain forms of birth control
- A weakened immune system
- Urinary tract blockage
- Recent urinary procedure
- Catheter use
- Inadequate fluid intake
- Enlarged prostate
- Urinary retention
- Disease conditions that may affect bladder function such as multiple sclerosis
Bladder infections should be treated at their early stages so that they cannot spread further. If left untreated, they may lead to serious complications, such as:
- Sepsis, a potentially life-threatening condition often comes with infection
- Urethral narrowing
- Recurrent infections
What is cranberry extract?
Cranberry extract is made from the popular superfood cranberries, botanically known as Vaccinium oxycoccus. It’s rich in phytonutrients that show excellent antioxidant properties. In fact, studies have linked phytochemical compounds found in the cranberry extract to a decreased risk of various urinary tract infections including bladder infections, reduced blood pressure, improved immune response, and the protection from certain types of cancer.
How cranberry extract can help with bladder infections
Cranberry has traditionally been used for preventing and alleviating symptoms of bladder infections as well as other urinary tract infections for centuries. Modern studies have also substantiated its most traditional uses.
Multiple studies have found that cranberry extract can lower the activity of bacteria during a bladder infection. Experts have suggested that the proanthocyanidins present in cranberry extract have a miraculous ability to prevent E. coli bacteria from sticking to the lining of the bladder walls and thus, help to block the colonization and growth of the bacteria.
Studies have also found that regular intake of cranberry supplements can significantly reduce the risk and frequency of recurrent UTIs including bladder infections especially in women who experience recurrent infections.
How to use cranberry extract
Doses of cranberry extract may vary from person to person depending on the severity of the conditions. In general, 400 mg to 1500 mg of standardized cranberry extract supplement per day has been found noticeably effective to treat and prevent bladder or other types of urinary tract infections.
Always check with your nutritionist or healthcare professional to determine the best specific dose of cranberry extract supplement for you.
Precautions and side effects
Cranberry extract is generally found well-tolerated with a few and mild side effects including increased urination, abdominal pain, and stomach upset. But these aren’t common.
Cranberry extract may interfere with the efficacy of certain drugs such as blood-thinning drugs Warfarin. Some experts also opine that it can increase the risk of developing calcium stones.
However, always consult with a qualified naturopathic doctor before using cranberry extract for bladder infection especially if you’re taking any medication, or have a history of kidney stones, or are breastfeeding, or are pregnant.
Cranberry extract has long been used in the treatment and prevention of bladder infections for centuries. Modern studies have also proved that cranberry extract can be used as an effective therapeutic agent to treat and prevent various urinary tract infections including bladder infections.
Since cranberry extract is a supplement, one may require a combination of necessary conventional treatments along with cranberry extract to stop the growth of bladder infection. Therefore, it’s strongly recommended to consult with a medical doctor before using cranberry extract for bladder infection.
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