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Cranberry juice 'doesn't help clear urinary tract infections'

Put down the glass.

Image: Shutterstock/Image Point Fr

DRINKING CRANBERRY JUICE doesn’t help clear urine infections, according to new guidelines in the UK.

Draft guidelines issued by the National Institute for Health and Care Excellence (Nice) state that there is not enough evidence to recommend the drink for this purpose.

Previous studies have indicated that cranberry juice may play a role in helping clear up urinary tract infections (UTIs) or cystitis.

The new guidelines recommend that people drink plenty of fluids such as water and take painkillers.

All UTIs are caused by bacteria. Sometimes the body’s immune system can fight a mild infection alone without medication, but antibiotics are often needed.

Nice notes that inappropriate use and overuse use of antibiotics fuel drug resistance. Antibiotic resistance in UTIs is common and the problem is increasing, according to data published by Public Health England.

Antibiotics

Professor Mark Baker, Director for the Centre of Guidelines at Nice, said: “We recognise that the majority of UTIs will require antibiotic treatment, but we need to be smarter with our use of these medicines.

Our new guidance will help healthcare professionals to optimise their use of antibiotics. This will help to protect these vital medicines and ensure that no one experiences side effects from a treatment they do not need.

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Dr Susan Hopkins of Public Health England added: “Our surveillance shows that more than a third of laboratory confirmed E. coli UTIs display resistance to key antibiotics.

“We are therefore urging GP practices and hospitals to follow the new guidelines so they can prescribe antibiotics appropriately to their patients. This will preserve our antibiotics so that they not only save lives today but can continue to save lives tomorrow.”

A public consultation on the draft guidelines will close on 5 June.

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Órla Ryan

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