Do Cranberry Pills Make you Pee a Lot?

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The short answer:

Cranberry pills don’t make you pee a lot. No scientific evidence supports the previous claims that cranberry pills act as diuretics. Its main use is to prevent recurrent UTIs.

Quick insights:

  • Cranberry pills are not diuretics and don’t lead to peeing a lot, even if taken daily.
  • They are mainly taken to prevent future recurrence of UTI (cranberry doesn’t treat already existing UTI).
  • Peeing a lot while taking cranberry is often due to other causes such as overhydration, caffeine, other medications, diabetes, or another UTI attack.
  • Cranberry pills’ main reported side effects are mild heartburn, diarrhea, and a mild increase in the risk of kidney stones.
  • If you are frequently peeing while taking cranberry pills, think of other causes.

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[1] Do cranberry pills make you pee more?

After reviewing the research and credible scientific resources, I found no mention of any diuretic effects of cranberry pills.

The cranberry pills (even if taken daily for long periods) don’t make you pee a lot. So, if you are experiencing polyuria (peeing a lot), think of alternate causes, such as recent changes in drinking habits, taking another medication with a diuretic effect, etc. (see the third section of this article).

Cranberry pills may prevent the recurrence of urinary tract infections by fighting the bacteria causing the disease. This is the main effect of cranberry pills, and that’s why you are taking them.

[2] Do cranberry pills help with frequent urination?

Frequent urination is either due to excess urinary production (polyuria) or frequent peeing of small amounts of urine (Frequency), which is typically due to urinary bladder irritation (mainly as a result of UTI).

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Whether frequent urination is polyuria or frequency, cranberry pills don’t cure any of them. The only known effect is preventing future UTIs.

Theoretically, cranberry may help prevent frequent urination (by preventing future UTIs). On the other hand, cranberry pills won’t help with already existing frequent urination (polyuria or frequency).

So, If you are getting frequent urination (of either small or large amounts), see your doctor to evaluate for the cause.

[3] Possible causes of peeing a lot

As I explained before, cranberry is not likely to be the cause of peeing a lot. So, if you are recently experiencing frequent urination, you should consider the following common causes:

  • UTI (urinary Tract Infection)

    • A common cause of peeing is a lot, especially in females.
    • Women with recurrent UTIs may use cranberry pills to prevent future episodes.
    • Peeing a lot while taking cranberry pills may mean you have a recurrence of the UTI.
    • Other symptoms include dysuria (burning urination), urinating too often (small amounts of urine), bladder pain, turbid or bloody urine, etc. Learn More about UTI symptoms.
  • Too much water (overhydration).

    • Over-drinking for good hydration can make you pee more than usual.
    • Also, it is common advice given to people with UTI, together with cranberry pills.
  • Too much alcohol or caffeine.

    • Alcohol and caffeine are both diuretics. Drinking coffee can make you pee a lot of pale or clear urine.
  • Diabetes mellitus (undiagnosed or uncontrolled).

    • Diabetes commonly causes a lot of urine (polyuria).
    • Peeing a lot can mean you have undiagnosed diabetes (especially if associated with other symptoms such as thirst sensation, persistent hunger, dizziness, etc.).
    • People with diabetes may pee a lot, which could mean their blood sugar is poorly controlled. Learn More.
  • Interstitial cystitis.

    • Interstitial cystitis or painful bladder syndrome is a disease of an unclear cause that is more common in females.
    • It causes bladder pain or discomfort with frequent urination (peeing more frequently at night and through the day).
  • Medications such as diuretics.

    • Another common cause of peeing a lot of clear urine is the concomitant use of other medications or supplements with cranberry pills that have a diuretic effect.
    • Examples include diuretics, diuretic-containing anti-hypertensives, some anti-diabetes, and antidepressant medications. Learn More.
  • BPH (benign prostatic hypertrophy) in men.

    • Old males (particularly those above 60 and 70) may suffer from enlarged prostate (BPH).
    • An enlarged prostate causes difficult urination and frequent bathroom visits with a weak urine stream).
  • Vaginitis in women.

    • Vaginitis may lead to irritation of the urethra and/or the urinary bladder, leading to frequent urination and bladder discomfort.
  • Diabetes Insipidus.

  • Pregnancy.

    • During pregnancy (especially in the third and second trimesters), you may feel the urge to pee more frequently.
    • The urge is caused by the pressure of the uterus on the urinary bladder and due to excess fluids in your body.
  • Other causes of peeing a lot:

    • Prostatitis in men
    • Anterior vaginal prolapse.
    • Anxiety.
    • Bladder stones.
    • Overactive bladder.
    • Urethral stricture.
    • Urinary incontinence.
    • Nervous system diseases such as stroke and spinal cord injuries.
    • Bladder cancer.
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[4] Cranberry benefits (what we know so far).

  • Prevention of recurrent UTI (not effective if the infection already exists).
  • It may serve as a urine deodorizer (in patients with incontinence).
  • Other potential benefits (with weak scientific evidence):
    • May help fight H. Pylori Infection.
    • It may reduce cancer risk and cancer growth.
    • It may help fight viruses.

[5] Cranberry side effects.

Cranberry is considered a dietary supplement that is generally safe for use with minimal drug interactions.

Minor side effects and limitations of its use include:

  • Increased caloric intake (risk of weight gain, elevated blood sugar), particularly with sweetened cranberry juice.
  • Elevation of blood glucose (cranberry juice may be unsuitable for those with diabetes mellitus).
  • Heartburn (with cranberry juice).
  • Diarrhea.
  • It may increase the risk of kidney stones due to high oxalate content.