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In today’s round of scientific fact or common misconception, we have a classic: using cranberry juice to prevent or cure UTIs. If you’ve ever had a UTI, chances are you’ve heard the advice to chug cranberry juice in hopes of easing symptoms, making the infection go away, or stopping another one from taking its place. But does it actually help?

“There are some studies evaluating this, and none have shown that cranberry juice actually works,” ob-gyn Erica Cahill, MD, told POPSUGAR. At the very least, the research is pretty conflicting: one comprehensive review from 2015 tentatively said that cranberries might be effective in prevention in healthy women, but that larger and higher-quality studies were necessary. “Cranberry juice probably doesn’t hurt,” Dr. Cahill said, but it won’t work magic to keep UTIs away.

Water Is Better for Preventing UTIs

What can help keep you from getting UTIs? It’s even simpler than cranberry juice: drink more water said Jenn Conti, MD, an ob-gyn at Stanford and the cohost of The V Word podcast with Dr. Cahill. She cited a 2018 study on 140 women with recurrent UTIs, which showed that drinking an extra 1.5 liters of water every day resulted in fewer UTIs.

So if you’re worried about these pesky, painful infections, set down the cran juice and pick up your water bottle. It can help, and upping your H2O intake is good for you in a bunch of other ways, too — so it definitely won’t hurt.

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