Complementary and Alternative Medicine

Women are 8 times more prone to Urinary Tract Infections (UTIs) than men with at least 50% of women having at least one UTI in their lifetime. Normally, the urinary tract is sterile, but bacteria may rise from the perianal region, possibly leading to UTI. UTI’s occurs when bacteria are established and multiply within the urinary tract. These bacteria in the bladder may be dormant or can cause irritable symptoms like urinary frequency and urgency or burning feeling when urinating. Conventional treatment of antibiotics can treat individual infections, but preventing recurring infections is not possible as the bacteria lodge themselves in the inner layers of the bladder and do not come into contact with the antibiotics which can kill them. Consequently, there is a reservoir of bacteria in the deeper layers of the bladder which can potentially cause recurring infections.

Cranberry juice

So, with these difficulties in treating UTI’s many people are turning to alternative medicine treatments. One of the most popular nutritional supplements that is often advised to treat UTI’s is Cranberry juice. The active ingredients in cranberry juice are the A-type proanthocyanidins (PACs) which inhibits the P-fimbriated E. coli adhesion to uroepithelial cells. Many women have reported that Cranberry juice nutritional supplement reduces the burning sensation associated with UTI’s.

A recent Complementary and Alternative Medicine study published in Am J ClinNutr 2016 revealed that over 300 women average age of 41 who consumed 8 oz. of cranberry juice cocktail daily for 5 ½ months had significantly fewer UTIs over the course. The cranberry cocktail was provided by Ocean Spray for the trial. This is not currently available on the market and had 50 calories per serving; the standard sweetened version has 110 calories per serving.

It is recommended that cranberry juice is consumed several times a dayas part of alternative medicine treatments, but UTI sufferers should guard against drinking too much as it can cause indigestion. It is also recommended that tart, unsweetened cranberry juice be utilised as many brands of Cranberry juice nutritional supplements have more calories than a glass of cola.


While many practitioners recommend Cranberry juice aspart of alternative medicine treatments for UTI’s, there are a few words of caution. For example a Complementary and Alternative Medicine study by Gettman et al in 2005 showed that consuming too much cranberry juice increases the risk of calcium oxalate and uric acid stones as Cranberry juice contains moderately high levels of oxalate. Complementary and Alternative Medicine practitioners and Integrative Medicine doctors should also not prescribe cranberry juice as nutritional supplements for those who have an allergy to aspirin; due to the fact that Cranberry juice has salicylic acid a key ingredient of aspirin. There is also evidence of possible interaction between cranberry juice and simvastatin. 

Integrative therapies

So, while cranberry juice can be good alternative medicine treatments for treating UTI’s in middle- aged women, better sustainable results can be achieved using integrative medicine approach. Integrative medicine treatments include strategic implementation of one or a combination of conventional pharmaceuticals, acupuncture, traditional Chinese medicine herbs and Ayurvedic medicines and specific diets.