Cranberry vs Antibiotics for Urinary Tract Infections

27 Jul 2011 5:19 PM - New research...

Antibiotics are the standard medical treatment for Urinary Tract Infections (UTIs).  Sometimes they are prescribed at the onset of an infection and for those who suffer frequent recurrences they may be prescribed prophylactically (i.e. you take them to prevent getting an infection even if you don't have an infection at the moment). 

In this recent study published in the Archives of Internal Medicine, a comparison was made between antibiotics and cranberry capsules used prophylactically for a year.  While the antibiotics showed better results for preventing recurrence of infection over the twelve month period they resulted in much higher levels of antibiotic-resistant bacteria.  This is cause for some concern as we are finding that, more and more, bacteria are developing resistance, rendering antibiotics less effective. 

Cranberry (not in the form of the sweetened drink) is a very effective treatment for UTIs and typically naturopaths will combine it with other herbs which have antibacterial and immune strengthening properties to treat an acute infection.  If you suffer from recurrent infections we also look at other health, dietary or lifestyle factors which may be precipitating your problem. 

So, if you suffer from UTI's (rarely or often), be aware that antibiotics, whilst effective, may result in long term bacterial resistance.  Cranberry (especially when combined with other herbs selected for your specific symptoms) is a very effective alternative.   Talk to your naturopath or herbalist for more advice. 

In good health,


Kaye Wright