Cranberry is well-known as an alternative remedy for a urinary tract infection, also known as a UTI or bladder infection. However, in certain circumstances, cranberry juice may actually increase symptoms of bladder discomfort and frequency or urgency with urination. Drinking cranberry juice also has the potential to increase your urine output or bladder irritation. Consult your doctor for advice regarding any unusual urinary symptoms.
Urinary tract infections are more common in women than in men, and seniors in residential care facilities often experience them. If you are suffering from a UTI, you will likely experience symptoms including pain on urination, a sensation of needing to urinate most or all of the time, and urinating more often than is usual for you. MayoClinic.com indicates that cranberry juice is only potentially effective as a preventative measure for UTIs. Once you have an infection, drinking cranberry juice may irritate your bladder more due to its acidic content. Additionally, the juice may increase your sense of urinary urgency and the number of times or amount you need to urinate.
Interstitial cystitis is a common yet frequently misdiagnosed bladder condition, also referred to as painful bladder syndrome. The symptoms of interstitial cystitis are commonly mistaken for those of a UTI; however, interstitial cystitis tends to continue or recur over a period of years. A need to urinate frequently is a common symptom of interstitial cystitis, and certain foods are more likely than others to worsen these urinary symptoms. According to the Interstitial Cystitis Network, cranberry juice is in the category of foods most likely to cause bladder irritation and worsening of symptoms. If cranberry juice does aggravate your IC symptoms, an increase in urinary frequency is likely.
If you drink large quantities of any kind of fluid -- cranberry juice included -- your urinary output will increase. Drinking an excessive volume of fluid in a short period of time will place strain on your bladder as it struggles to process the liquid -- this can cause painful urination or the urgent need to urinate. You can avoid overworking your bladder by splitting up your consumption of cranberry juice and other fluids into smaller drinks throughout the day. A healthy adult is typically recommended to drink between 60 and 64 ounces of fluid daily -- try splitting up your fluid intake into 10 or 12 small drinks.
If the volume of liquid you are taking in is relatively small but you still have problems with needing to urinate frequently, you may be one of the many U.S. adults with bladder control problems. Acidic drinks, such as cranberry juice, can irritate the urinary tract and -- in susceptible individuals -- cause urinary pain and leakage, according to MayoClinic.com.
- MayoClinic.com: Urinary Tract Infection
- "Natural Choices for Women's Health"; Dr. Laurie Steelsmith, et al.; 2005
- MayoClinic.com: Bladder Control Problems in Women: Lifestyle Strategies for Relief