Cranberries after pelvic floor surgery for urinary tract infection prophylaxis: A randomized controlled trial

Neurourol Urodyn. 2020 Jun;39(5):1543-1549. doi: 10.1002/nau.24391. Epub 2020 May 25.


Aims: Urinary tract infection (UTI) is a common complication after pelvic floor surgery. Antibiotics as prophylaxis may reduce the prevalence of UTI's by 50%, but bacterial resistance may be a large disadvantage, necessitating the search for other possible prophylactic options. Recent research found a 50% reduction in the rate of UTI's with the use of cranberry capsules after elective gynecologic surgery, suggesting that cranberry capsules may serve as a good prophylaxis. The aim of this study was to assess whether perioperative cranberry prophylaxis reduces the risk of clinical overt UTI after elective pelvic floor surgery with indwelling catheter.

Methods: We conducted a single-center randomized, double-blind, placebo-controlled trial. Women were given cranberry capsules twice daily or identical placebo for 6 weeks, starting the day before surgery. The main endpoint of the trial was the incidence of UTI within 6 weeks after surgery, defined as clinical diagnosis and treatment of UTI by the medical doctor. Analyses were performed with the intention to treat.

Results: Two hundred ten participants were included, 105 in each arm. There was no significant difference in the prevalence of UTI between the cranberry arm (n = 13, 12.4%) and the placebo arm (n = 21, 20.0%; P = .13), but the prevalence in both arms was lower than anticipated.

Conclusions: This trial shows no beneficial effect of adequately dosed cranberry prophylaxis in women undergoing pelvic floor surgery, although such effect cannot be ruled out in settings with a higher prevalence of UTI's.

Keywords: clinical trial; cranberry; female; infection; pelvic floor; surgery; urinary tract.

Publication types

  • Randomized Controlled Trial
  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Aged
  • Anti-Bacterial Agents / therapeutic use*
  • Capsules
  • Double-Blind Method
  • Female
  • Gynecologic Surgical Procedures / adverse effects
  • Humans
  • Incidence
  • Middle Aged
  • Pelvic Floor / surgery*
  • Phytotherapy*
  • Plant Extracts / therapeutic use*
  • Postoperative Complications / epidemiology
  • Postoperative Complications / prevention & control*
  • Urinary Tract Infections / epidemiology
  • Urinary Tract Infections / prevention & control*
  • Vaccinium macrocarpon*


  • Anti-Bacterial Agents
  • Capsules
  • Plant Extracts

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