06.01.2016 Why What You Know About UTIs Could Be All Wrong Share on Facebook Share on Twitter Share on LinkedIn Summary: UTIs are the second most common infection in the US, and 60 percent of women will suffer from at least one in their lifetime, but it seems what we don’t know about UTIs could fill a book. So, if you’re one of the 77 percent of people who still thinks cranberry juice treats UTIs, then this article is for you. Myth #1: If it feels like a UTI, it must be a UTI The warning signs are all there: you feel that need to pee (all the time), you have that burning sensation when you do, and, what’s worse, your back, sides and abdomen are agonizingly sore. It must be a UTI, right? Well… maybe not. Chronic sufferers of UTIs, don’t be fooled. While most of the time your symptoms are proof positive of a UTI, the only way to really know is to have a urine culture. And, while it seems like a hassle, it may be better to confirm you have an infection before you pop that next pill. Why? Because 30 percent of people with symptomatic UTIs (the technical term for feeling like you have a UTI) will actually test negative for infections. Since antibiotics are the most common course of treatment for symptomatic UTIs, this means you could be taking antibiotics needlessly if you haven’t been tested - putting yourself at risk for developing a resistance to the very antibiotics that could be used to help you. Myth #2: Cranberry juice treats UTIs You’ve probably heard it a million times, if you think you have a UTI: drink cranberry juice. But, that’s not exactly right. Cranberry juice is chock-full of a unique combination of compounds that provide an antibacterial effect by keeping bacteria from sticking in the body and therefore the key to their benefit is helping to avoid the infection altogether. Cranberries won’t treat an existing UTI, so once the symptoms start you’ll likely need a course of antibiotics. A new landmark clinical study published by the American Journal of Clinical Nutrition conclusively shows that drinking an 8-ounce (240 mL) glass of cranberry juice a day can reduce symptomatic UTIs by nearly 40 percent in women with recurrent UTIs. Just think … one glass of cranberry juice day could be a nutritional alternative to reducing the burden of painful UTI symptoms, and better yet, reduce the antibiotic use associated with treating recurrent UTIs. Myth #3: I can always rely on antibiotics to treat my UTIs The bacteria that cause UTIs are becoming increasingly resistant to even the strongest antibiotics used to treat them today. Which means the antibiotics you take today may not be effective tomorrow. Growing resistance rates around the world have given cause for alarm — so much so that the World Health Organization has flagged antibiotic resistance as one of the greatest challenges to public health today. As antibiotic resistance becomes a bigger and bigger problem, infection prevention is a more reliable bet than depending on antibiotics. Takeaways: Don’t self-diagnose, see your doctor if you feel a UTI coming A daily regimen of cranberry juice may help to proactively reduce symptomatic UTIs You can help fight the growing issue of antibiotic resistance by confirming you have an infection before taking antibiotics.