If you experience pain when urinating -- or dysuria -- you're not alone. Painful urination is a common symptom, with a urinary tract infection being the most likely cause. Although many people reach to cranberry juice for preventing urinary tract infections and the pain associated with them, the jury is still out on whether this is an effective remedy. If you have urethra pain when urinating, see your doctor for a proper diagnosis. When the diagnosis is a urinary tract infection, antibiotics are often prescribed.
Your urinary tract is responsible for making and storing urine. Urine is made in the kidneys, then passes through the ureters and into the bladder. Your bladder stores urine until you are ready to eliminate it. During elimination, urine travels from the bladder, through the urethra and out of your body. Normally, your urine is sterile, which means it is free of any bacteria. If bacteria gains access to your urine through your urethra, it can lead to a urinary tract infection that usually affects the bladder and urethra.
When you have a urinary tract infection, your bladder and urethra become red, inflamed and irritated from the presence of bacteria. This irritation not only leads to pain when urinating, it can also cause loss of urinary control, unpleasant-smelling urine and an increased need to urinate. When you try to urinate, you may only be able to eliminate a few drops at a time. Although cranberry juice is not an effective treatment method once you have a urinary tract infection, it has been used as a natural remedy to prevent urinary tract infections from developing.
Cranberries contain compounds called A-type proanthocyanidins, which have anti-adherence properties. This means that they may help prevent bacteria, specifically E. coli, from sticking to the bladder walls. The theory behind this is that if bacteria are unable to stick to the bladder walls, they are unlikely to cause infection. A study published in the journal “Clinical Infectious Diseases” in 2004 found that cranberry juice may be effective in preventing urinary tract infections in certain populations. The strongest evidence was seen in sexually active women who have had a previous urinary tract infection. An analysis in the “Journal of the American Medical Association Internal Medicine” mimicked these findings. On the other hand, the “Cochrane Studies” compared 24 studies and found no significant difference in the prevalence of urinary tract infections in those taking a cranberry product, compared with those taking a placebo.
Prevent urinary tract infections and the pain associated with them by following a few effective measures. Do what you can to keep your bowels regular. If you’re a woman, always wipe from front to back. Balance the bad bacteria in your body with good by taking a probiotic regularly.
- MedlinePlus: Urination - Painful
- Cleveland Clinic: Painful Urination (Dysuria)
- Cleveland Clinic: Hold the Cranberries - UTI Myths Explained
- Urology Care Foundation: Urinary Tract Infections in Adults
- National Kidney and Urologic Diseases Information Clearinghouse: Urinary Tract Infections in Adults
- Clinical Infectious Diseases: Cranberry Juice and Urinary Tract Infection
- Journal of the American Medical Association Internal Medicine: Cranberry-Containing Products for Prevention of Urinary Tract Infections in Susceptible Populations A Systematic Review and Meta-analysis of Randomized Controlled Trials
- Cochrane Summaries: Cranberries for Preventing Urinary Tract Infections