The tart taste of cranberry juice means it isn't one of the most popular fruit juices around. But the juice gets plenty of attention in some circles because of its usefulness in preventing urinary tract infections. In fact, research does show the juice can help prevent the infections in older women and those who are pregnant, MedlinePlus reports. Drinking it, though, does not come without the risk of side effects, such as diarrhea.
Fruit Juice and Diarrhea
It's not just too much cranberry juice that you give you diarrhea. Drinking too much of any fruit juice or even eating a lot of fruit can cause diarrhea. According to MedlinePlus, the fructose -- a type of sugar -- in fruit and fruit juice can cause diarrhea in people who have difficulty digesting it.
Cranberry Juice Side Effects
Most people who drink cranberry juice experience no adverse effects, especially when it is used in moderation. However, if you drink large amounts of the juice, it can cause some bothersome gastrointestinal problems. In addition to diarrhea, you may also have stomach pain or abdominal cramps. In addition, drinking too much cranberry juice -- more than 1 liter per day over an extended period -- can increase your risk for kidney stones, especially in people who are prone to them, MedlinePlus reports. If you want to use cranberry juice medicinally, you should always first talk with a doctor who can tell you whether it may be useful for you.
Cranberry Juice and the Urinary Tract.
Cranberry juice has long been used to treat and prevent urinary tract infections. Doctors and researchers used to be believe it helped treat UTIs because it made the urine more acidic, which stymied the reproduction of bacteria causing infections. Now, though, evidence shows the juice makes it more difficult for bacteria to stick to the urinary tract, which helps prevent an infection from developing. While regular use of cranberry juice does appear useful in preventing UTIs, it won't help treat an infection that is already present, MedlinePlus reports.
How to Use Cranberry Juice
If you want to use cranberry juice to prevent UTIs, you'll need to drink it every day. The exact amount you need to consume has not yet been established, but in general doctors recommend between 1 oz. and 10 oz. a day of the 100 percent cranberry juice, MedlinePlus reports. If you buy a cranberry juice cocktail, you'll need to drink more so you get enough of the cranberry juice the product contains. Before using cranberry juice to prevent UTIs, you should speak with your doctor about how to use it effectively. Also, remember that the juice will not treat an infection. If you think you have a UTI, visit with your doctor for proper diagnosis and treatment.