If you’re looking for ways to prevent UTIs or just improve your urinary tract health, it can be tempting to throw a bottle of cranberry gum in your shopping cart. The gummy vitamin market is hot and they usually taste just as good as a piece of candy. Unfortunately, that does not mean that you can necessarily trust them to make a difference in your runs with UTIs.

So why are cranberries still associated with UTI prevention?

According to Wai Lee, MD, director of female pelvic medicine and reconstructive surgery at the Northwell Smith Institute of Urology, cranberries contain compounds called proanthocyanidins (PACs), which are thought to help inhibit the process of UTI-causing bacteria adhering to the surface. of the bladder wall and colonization.

Despite its popularity, cranberries have not yet been scientifically confirmed to prevent UTIs. Dr. Lee noted that in 2019, the American Urological Association conditionally recommended “cranberry prevention for women with recurrent urinary tract infections,” which he said means there was no obvious harm or benefit to its use based on available scientific literature.

What’s more, said Dr. Lee that the available studies were all performed on different types of cranberry supplements, such as juices, powders and tablets, and all of these forms have different levels of PACs.

“Studies have also shown that subjects taking cranberry capsules with at least 36 mg of PACs appear to have the most bacterial anti-adhesion activity in the urine,” he explained. “As such, there are only a few products on the market that contain at least 36 mg of PAC.”

So while cranberry gums may have a more appetizing pull than pie, unsweetened cranberry juice (you have to give them that!), They may not help ward off UTIs.

“Although I’m sure they are delicious, none of the products I found specifically indicated the amount of PACs on the label. I would therefore not recommend to my patients any product that does not contain at least 36 mg. PACs, “said Dr. Lee explained.

However, there are other lifestyle changes you can implement to prevent UTIs – starting with drinking more H2O. “I always tell my patients to start by increasing their daily water intake to dilute their urine and flush out bacteria before they have a chance to colonize,” said Dr. Lee.

He added that increased daily fiber intake in addition to drinking more water can help prevent constipation that can contribute to the development of UTIs.

The Mayo Clinic also recommends urinating shortly after intercourse and staying away from potentially irritating feminine hygiene products, such as deodorant sprays, showers and powders.

If you think you have a urinary tract infection, are struggling with recurrent urinary tract infections or want more tips on what you can do to keep your urinary tract healthy, contact your doctor for personal advice.