Reducing post-surgery UTIs with cranberry
Taking cranberry extract capsules after gynecologic surgery that involves urinary catheterization may cut a patient’s risk of urinary tract infection (UTI) by as much as half, according to results of a small new study. The research, by investigators in Michigan, is the first double-blind randomized clinical trial to demonstrate the efficacy of the approach.
Women participating in the trial ranged in age from 23 to 88 and were recruited from the Urogynecology and Minimally Invasive Surgery clinics of the University of Michigan Division of Gynecology between August 2011 and January 2013. All of their surgeries were elective gynecologic procedures. Among the exclusions were a history of nephrolithiasis and surgery involving fistula repair or vaginal mesh removal.
A total of 160 participants were randomized to receive either 2 cranberry juice capsules twice a day (equivalent to 2 8-oz servings of cranberry juice) or a placebo for 6 weeks following surgery. The primary endpoint was the proportion of participants who experienced clinically diagnosed and treated UTI, which may or may not have been associated with a positive urine culture.
Overall the occurrence of UTI was much lower in the group treated with cranberry extract (5 out of 80) than in the placebo group (30 out of 80) (odds ratio [OR], 0.38; 95% CI, 0.19–0.79; P = .008). Even after adjusting for known confounders, including the frequency of intermittent self-catheterization in the postoperative period, the protective nature of the cranberry juice extract remained (OR, 0.42; 95% CI, 0.18–0.94).
No treatment differences were seen in the incidence of adverse events, including gastrointestinal upset (56% vs 61% for cranberry vs placebo).
The investigators concluded that consuming cranberry extract capsules during the postoperative period seems to reduce the rate of UTI by roughly 50%.