While cranberries are a well-known combatant for bladder infections, a new Dutch study shows that antibiotics are twice as effective for treating and preventing recurrent urinary tract infections (UTI).
A study conducted by Dr. Suzanne Geerlings of Academic Medical Center in Amsterdam geared towards premenopausal women, who are the largest group who suffer from recurring UTIs. 221 women who had a history of recurring UTIs were used and monitored over a year. Half were given a daily dose of an antibiotic common for treatment of urinary tract infections, trimethoprim-sulfamethoxazole, while half were given 500 mg cranberry capsules, a recognized treatment for centuries.
The findings showed that women who took the cranberry capsules were twice as likely to become infected again, averaging a repeat infection within 4 months in comparison to the women who took the antibiotics, who only experienced a repeated infection in 8 months.
Another result of the study demonstrated about 86.3 percent of women who took the antibiotic showed resistance to E coli, the main cause for urinary tract infections, compared to the 23.7 percent of women who received cranberry capsules, according to a report by MSNBC.
While it is undetermined the exact means cranberries prevent and treat urinary tract infections besides preventing adhesion of E coli to the bladder, research proved antibiotics prevent as well as treat UTIs.
"Cranberries are less effective in the prevention, but do not result in resistant microorganisms," Dr. Geerlings said.
Statistics show that nearly half of all women will experience a UTI within their lifetime and will mostly likely be prescribed an antibiotic to remedy the infection.
However, many worry that taking an antibiotic regularly to treat or prevent urinary tract infections will cause antibiotic resistance. Dr. Geerlings, who wrote the study, ensures this is not the case.
"Women with recurrent UTIs [urinary tract infections] do not like taking antibiotics for a long period because they know [about] the resistance problem."
While the results are favorable towards women who received antibiotic to treat urinary tract infections, antibiotic resistance did triple for women in that test group. However, this problem disappeared three months after the antibiotic dosage was eliminated as reported in the study published in the Archives of Internal Medicine.