London: Doctors can prescribe cranberry products as the first line of defense against repeated urinary tract infections (UTIs), a study has found.
The findings showed that, overall, the use of cranberry products led to a statistically significant risk reduction in repeat UTIs, which affect the urinary system, including kidneys, bladder, and urethra.
“Our investigation supports that cranberry products can be a powerful tool to fight off frequent UTIs,” said lead author Angelo Luis from the Universidade da Beira Interior in Portugal.
Morevover, the results of subgroup analysis demonstrated that patients at some risk for UTIs were more susceptible to the effects of cranberry ingestion, the researchers said.
The medicinal properties of cranberries may be attributed to their unique polyphenol — proanthocyanidins, or PACs for short.
Their ability to keep infection-causing bacteria from sticking to the urinary tract walls may be the major reason for their effectiveness in limiting infection growth and recurrence, the researchers explained.
For the study, published in the Journal of Urology, the team conducted meta-analysis of 28 studies on nearly 5,000 patients.
The prescription of cranberry products would reduce administration of antibiotics, which could be beneficial to patients since antibiotics can lead to the worldwide emergence of antibiotic-resistant microorganisms, the researchers said.
“Findings like this give medicine practitioners a viable, inexpensive, non-antibiotic option to help patients reduce the recurrence of an uncomfortable and potentially debilitating infection,” Luis noted.