Cranberry capsules are most often used for preventing urinary tract infections, according to WebMD. They are also taken by those with urinary incontinence to deodorize urine and as a treatment for neurogenic bladder, a bladder disease caused by nerve damage that results in a lack of bladder control.
Several studies link cranberries and cranberry supplements to a lower risk of UTIs, especially in women who have a history of frequent urinary tract infections, reports the University of Maryland Medical Center. Cranberries most likely help prevent UTIs by making bacteria less able to stick to the walls of the urinary tract. Cranberries and cranberry tablets are not effective treatments for existing UTIs because they don’t affect bacteria that are already clinging to the cells of the urinary tract.
Cranberry tablets may have other benefits as well, including positive effects on cholesterol and prevention of cancer cell growth. However, additional study is needed to confirm these benefits, notes the University of Maryland Medical Center. Two studies have shown that cranberries may also be useful in preventing ulcers caused by the bacterium Helicobacter pylori.