Cranberry capsules might prevent UTIs

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Female long-term care residents at a high risk for urinary tract infections who took cranberry capsules twice a day substantially lowered their risk, according to a new study.

The 928 participants from 21 long-term care organizations in the Netherlands were placed into either a low- or high-risk group. The high-risk group included those who had long-term catheterization or diabetes. 

The researchers looked at both the clinical and strict definitions for UTI. The clinical definition could include signs and symptoms, a positive nitrite test, or a UTI reported in the medical record. The stricter definition involved a urine culture, with an infection determined by the amount of bacteria and the number of distinct organisms present.

Researchers noted most participants had dementia or incontinence, making it more difficult to get a “clean catch” for a urine sample and making the strict UTI definition harder to achieve. 

In the double-blind randomized placebo-controlled trial, those at high risk had a 26% lower incidence of clinically defined UTI.

Results were in the Journal of the American Geriatrics Society in January.