Sorry ladies… cranberry juice DOESN’T work: Often the remedy women reach for but there is ‘no evidence’ that it helps to treat urinary infections
- It’s fruitless knocking back cartons of cranberry juice, say new health guidelines
- Draft advice also recommends doctors limit antibiotics handed out for UTIs
- Instead, doctors should ask patients to take paracetamol and drink fluids
It’s the remedy that many women reach for.
But knocking back cartons of cranberry juice to tackle urinary infections is fruitless, according to new health guidelines.
There is ‘no evidence’ cranberries help to treat the painful problems, the National Institute for Health and Care Excellence will say.
The draft guidelines for improving treatment for urinary tract infections – or UTIs – such as cystitis are the first to refer to cranberries.
Knocking back cartons of cranberry juice to tackle urinary infections is fruitless, according to new health guidelines
UTIs are caused by bacteria and are common in women. In some cases, they lead to kidney infections. Complications are more common in men, pregnant women, children and older patients.
Those suffering from recurrent UTIs should be advised that evidence of the preventative benefits of cranberry products is ‘inconclusive’, the draft advice says.
It also recommends that doctors limit the amount of antibiotics handed out for UTIs, in a bid to reduce resistance. The guidelines say low-risk patients, such as women who are not pregnant, should be asked to wait for test results to come back.
Instead, doctors should ask patients about their pain levels and tell them to take paracetamol and drink plenty of fluids. They can also write a ‘back-up’ prescription which can be used only if the infection does not go away on its own.
The immune system can fight mild infections but many UTIs require antibiotics. Antibiotic resistance is a growing threat which experts believe could kill 10 million a year within a generation. Overuse of the drugs allows bacteria to evolve into superbugs which cannot be treated.
Dr Susan Hopkins, of Public Health England, said more than a third of UTIs linked to the bacteria E.coli were resistant to antibiotics.
‘We are therefore urging GPs and hospitals to follow the guidelines so they can prescribe antibiotics appropriately,’ she added.
Those suffering from UTIs should be advised that evidence of the preventative benefits of cranberry products is ‘inconclusive’
‘This will preserve our antibiotics so they not only save lives today but can continue to save lives tomorrow.’
Professor Mark Baker, director of the centre of guidelines at Nice, said: ‘We recognise that the majority of UTIs will require antibiotics, but we need to be smarter with our use of these medicines.’
The draft guidelines are under consultation until June 5.
Current NHS advice recommends that patients take paracetamol, drink fluids, rest and use a hot water bottle to relieve pain.
If patients develop back pain, a high temperature or sickness, they are advised to make an urgent GP appointment to check whether they have a kidney infection.
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