Importance of cranberry for women’s health

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Cranberry has been used as a food and medicine for centuries.1 It’s most popularly known for its role in reducing the risk of cystitis, a urinary tract condition that causes inflammation of the bladder and uncomfortable symptoms. Women are more susceptible to developing cystitis than men because their urethra, the tube that allows urine to pass out of the body, is only 4cm long. Because of the short distance, bacteria have easy access to the bladder.2 Female sex hormones can also affect the ability for bacteria to survive, making women more prone to cystitis during certain stages of their menstrual cycle, in pregnancy and during menopause.2 It’s estimated that 30% of women will experience cystitis at some stage in their life and 25% of these women will have a reoccurring infection within six months.3 Women are about 50 times more likely to experience cystitis than men.3

How does cranberry reduce the risk of cystitis in women?

Cranberries contain various substances, including proanthocyanidins (PACs) which discourages harmful bacteria from attaching to the surface of the bladder and urinary tract. This is how cranberry helps manage cystitis. Cranberry also helps mask urinary odours associated with cystitis.

Cranberry & supplementation

Cranberry products can be used to support bladder health and reduce the risk of cystitis. While cranberry juice is widely available, studies show that people are unlikely to keep up the routine of drinking enough juice every day to have an effect.4 Cranberry juice also tends to be quite high in additional sugar and therefore kilojoules. High strength cranberry supplements in tablet or capsule form with a one‐a‐day dose may be a more suitable option for maintaining bladder health and reducing the risk of cystitis in women.

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Published July 7, 2014
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