Who knew that this tiny little red berry packs a real punch and has many health benefits? It can even help cut down your usage of antibiotics for UTI (Urinary Tract Infections)!
A Urinary Tract Infection (UTI) is the second most common type of bacterial infection worldwide and affects one in two women who will suffer from at least one UTI infection in their lifetimes.
Although UTIs usually occur in women aged 20 – 65 years, men and even infants or young children are also at risk of getting an infection, especially those who have diabetes, spinal injuries, or other nerve damage that may hinder their ability to completely empty their bladder.
When bacteria grows in the urine that remains in your bladder, this eventually leads to an infection in the urinary tract.
Symptoms may not always be present, but signs of a UTI include:
- Very strong urge to urinate but only passing small amounts when you do go
- Burning sensation when urinating
- Cloudy urine
- Red, bright pink or very dark coloured (similar to cola) urine
- Strong-smelling urine
- Pelvic pain (only in women)
So how do you treat a UTI and can antibiotics really help?
If you have a UTI, you will probably be prescribed a course of antibiotics to treat it, but the overuse of antibiotics can actually cause the UTI to become more resistant through time.
Dr Christopher Chong, Obstetrician, Gynaecologist and Urogynaecologist at Gleneagles Hospital points out that the overuse and unnecessary use of antibiotics is very common in Asia.
“Incomplete use of antibiotics (not finishing the course or using intermittently), and using the same antibiotics over and over again lead to the bacteria building a resistance” he says.
But according to Dr Chong, some patients expect antibiotics and are given antibiotics even though they do not have a bacterial infection, such as the flu – which is a viral infection and therefore needs to be treated by an anti-viral, not antibiotics (as antibiotics can only treat bacteria infections).
Antibiotics are also contributing factors to the rise of dangerous “superbugs“, which are drug-resistant strains of bacteria and cannot be treated with the use of certain types of antibiotics.
Dr Chong explains that since UTI recurrence is common (with women having a one-in-three lifetime chance of developing a UTI), this usually results in a person being over-prescribed with antibiotics, so bacteria causing UTI develops resistance to the drugs, which leads to recurrence of the infection.
Go to the next page to find out how cranberries can help cut down your use of antibiotics for UTIs