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Debunking the Myths About Bladder infections:

Myth 1: If I get a UTI, I can just drink cranberry juice & it will go away.

Fact: There are many prevailing myths about the role of cranberry juice & UTIís, but this is the most common. While cranberry juice may help PREVENT UTIís, you need an antibiotic to TREAT a UTI. Do not attempt to treat a bladder infection yourself. The active components in cranberries are proanthocyanidins (PACs), which work by decreasing the adherence of E.coli bacteria to the urinary tract lining, therefore decreasing the risk of getting an infection.

MYTH 2: Once my symptoms go away, I can stop taking my antibiotic.

Fact: It is very important to take your antibiotics as directed and finish the entire prescription as instructed by your physician. Stopping the antibiotic early can result in another infection. . .or can fail to fully treat the original infection. It can also contribute to antibiotic resistance.

MYTH 3: I donít need to go to the doctor; Iíve had these symptoms before & I can just take the same medicine I have left over from last time.

FACT: As above, you shouldnít have any medicine left over from last time, because you should have taken your complete prescription! Plus: not all UTIís are from the same type of bacteria, nor are they all susceptible to the same antibiotics. This is why itís not only important to see your physician, but to get a urine culture.

MYTH 4: Drinking a glass of cranberry juice once a day will decrease my risk of any type of bladder infection.

Fact: This myth is wrong for two reasons. First, studies indicate that the beneficial anti-adhesion effects of cranberries last for about 10-12 hours. Therefore, it is important to take a cranberry supplement, or drink 6 ounces cranberry juice, twice per day. In addition, cranberries donít decrease the risk of all UTIís, just those caused by E. coli bacteria, which are responsible for approximately 80% of all UTIís.

MYTH 5: Recurrent bladder infections increase your risk for bladder cancer.

FACT: This is simply untrue and unsupported. In fact, while UTIís are much more common in women than men (1 out of 3 women have a UTI), bladder cancer is actually much more common in men than women (2/3 of patients with bladder cancer are men).

MYTH 6: Urinary tract infections result from poor hygiene.

FACT: This may be a factor in UTIís in girls, but is less likely to be a cause in adult women. In adult women, risk factors include first, frequent or recent sexual activity; diaphragm use; spermicide use; previous UTI's; and. diabetes. The risk of UTI's also increases in elderly women living in institutional settings or who have conditions associated with impaired urinating or poor toilet hygiene. Estrogen deficiency may also contribute to UTI risk in postmenopausal women. Recurrent UTI's in women over 50 are more likely in those with cystoceles (bladder prolapse), urinary incontinence, or who have previously had genitourinary surgery.

Created: 6/15/2009  -  Donnica Moore, M.D.

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