The Cranberry Flush: a sexy sipper to soothe your urinary tract

Relief, two ways
Relief, two ways
Photo: Emma Terhaar
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Anybody can get a urinary tract infection: women, men, children, and even cats (especially male cats that are later on in years). According to a little old website called WebMD.com, women may have a 50% chance of getting UTIs in their lifetime, while men have about a 10% chance, so these infections have become particularly associated with women. And because sex (gasp!) is one of the activities that can introduce bacteria to your nether regions, UTIs bring an annoyingly persistent stigma along with them: that the people who get these infections are promiscuous whores.

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But the truth of the matter is, everyone gets urinary tract infections, for all sorts of reasons; holding your pee too long, drinking too much booze and coffee, waxing, swimming, bicycling, existing, and wearing skimpy or nonexistent underwear are all ways that bacteria can enter the body. Regardless of how people get them, or who these people are, UTIs are terrible. If you don’t know what they feel like, I will tell you they feel like the word “discord” repeated over and over again, or like nails running down a chalkboard that happens to hang inside your bladder. They feel like an eternal itch in an unscratchable region, and you cannot complain about them because, again, only whores get UTIs. Maybe if more of this nation’s top executives were elderly male cats, bladder infections wouldn’t be so taboo, but I’ll save that idea for another very cuddly article. Luckily for all the dirty-bladdered hoes out there such as myself, the solution to our silent suffering might be as simple as fixing a drink.

Drinking out of a fun glass makes everything better!
Drinking out of a fun glass makes everything better!
Photo: Emma Terhaar

There are two main methods for treating a UTI depending on your level of discomfort. For the most full-blown, painful, emergency situations, you can call your doctor and ask for a round of antibiotics. However, this treatment method has its limitations, and there’s a good chance you’ll need to make an appointment, and waiting is very uncomfortable. A friend (okay, it was me!) once figured out that you can buy amoxicillin and other antibiotics intended for fish over the counter at most pet stores. But before taking a chance on unregulated meds, if symptoms are still tolerable, you can try the preferred treatment for an infected bladder: slamming your body with as much cranberry juice and probiotics as possible.

As a chronic UTI sufferer over the past decade, I’ve found that making myself several cranberry-probiotic “cocktails” at the first sign of the familiar itch is enough to knock it out. Cranberry juice and plain cranberry supplements don’t do much to alleviate my symptoms. But after I realized the most effective store-bought treatments always contain a probiotic element in addition to cranberry concentrate, I tried incorporating probiotics and hit upon a mix that works wonders. So if you’re a harlot like me, here are the two simple recipes I turn to most, in addition to popping a couple rounds of these guys.

All the NECESSARY ingredients for both versions of my UTI cure-all, the cranberry flush. Additional garnishes optional.
All the NECESSARY ingredients for both versions of my UTI cure-all, the cranberry flush. Additional garnishes optional.
Photo: Emma Terhaar

Cranberry Flush Lassi

  • Honey
  • Cranberry juice
  • Kefir

For cranberry juice, you absolutely need to read the ingredient label before selecting a bottle. Most of the “cranberry juice” at the store is a combination of corn syrup, apple juice, and a very small percentage of cranberry juice that will soothe nothing. The actual cranberry juice is usually much more expensive than the fruit juice cocktail that’s carefully disguised as “cranberry juice.”

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Method: Put a hearty spoonful of honey in a heat-proof glass. Splash a bit of boiling water onto the honey and stir until it dissolves. Fill your glass halfway with cranberry juice. Fill the rest of the glass with kefir and stir the combination together. I always use plain kefir, but the flavored varieties are fine too. You might not need as much honey in your drink if the kefir is already sweetened, so taste it and adjust. Alternatively, you can shake the honey water, cranberry juice, and kefir together in a Blender Bottle and it will have a nice foamy, smoothie texture.

Optional garnishes: sprinkle of nutmeg, sprinkle of cinnamon, mint sprig, serve over ice or not, use a straw if you want, whatever makes you feel better, babe!

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Cranberry Flush Tea

  • Honey
  • Kombucha
  • Cranberry juice
  • Optional: sparkling water, fresh wedge of lime

Method: Put a hearty tablespoon of honey in a heat-proof glass. Splash a bit of boiling water onto the honey and stir until it dissolves. Fill your glass halfway with cranberry juice, and finish it off with kombucha. I use plain kombucha, but if you’re using a sweetened or flavored variety, you might not need as much honey water. Top off the drink with a lime and soda water. Ice and straws are optional but fun!

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DISCUSSION

Dr Emilio Lizardo

A friend (okay, it was me!) once figured out that you can buy amoxicillin and other antibiotics intended for fish over the counter at most pet stores.

Yeah, don’t do that.