Many Parents Use Cranberry Juice to Treat Kids' Urinary Trouble

But less than a quarter discuss this with a pediatrician, survey finds

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TUESDAY, July 19, 2005 (HealthDay News) -- Even though it's fairly common for parents to give their children cranberry juice to help prevent or treat urinary infections, many parents don't discuss the practice with their children's pediatricians, a new survey finds.

Researchers at Brenner Children's Hospital, part of Wake Forest University Baptist Medical Center, in Winston-Salem, N.C., surveyed 115 parents of children treated at Brenner's pediatric nephrology clinic. Parents were asked about their use of cranberry products to treat recurrent urinary tract infections (UTI) in their children.

The survey found that 74 percent of the parents knew about this kind of use of cranberry products, and 29 percent had given them to their children. About half of the parents who'd used juice and other cranberry-based products said they had done so to prevent or treat UTIs in their children. The other half of parents gave the products to their children for a variety of reasons, including flushing the kidneys or "when things just didn't seem right" with their children's urination.

Only 23 percent of the parents who gave cranberry products to their children discussed it with their pediatrician, the survey found.

Few studies have been completed to determine the effectiveness of cranberry products in healthy children with UTIs, the study authors noted.

"Several adult studies have ha mixed results, but on the whole show that cranberry products are safe in preventing UTIs in adults," Brenner pediatrician Dr. Kathi Kemper said in a prepared statement.

She believes that, based on the widespread therapeutic use of cranberry products by parents, "research to address efficacy and safety issues is needed even more urgently than we originally thought."

The findings are published in the July issue of Ambulatory Pediatrics.

More information

The Nemours Foundation has more about urinary tract infections in children.

SOURCE: Brenner Children's Hospital, news release, July 19, 2005

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