Coffee: Friend or Foe?

Over the years of pulling all-nighters studying or waking up at all hours to soothe crying babies, you have become accustomed to coffee in the morning. It helps you wake up and is a tradition. But, if you suffer from incontinence, it may be time to think about replacing that cup of joe with something more friendly on your digestive system and bladder.

Caffeine is a diuretic and can contribute to incontinence. For that reason, physicians recommend that any individual experiencing bladder incontinence avoid coffee. Unfortunately, black tea, soda and other caffeinated beverages are not much better. There is caffeine content in soda, and the carbonation can irritate the bladder.

A study published in The Journal of Urology found that men who consumed two cups of coffee per day, or that equivalent amount of caffeine, are significantly more likely to have urinary incontinence or a leaky bladder than men who drink less coffee or none. The study was authored by Alayne D. Markland of the University of Alabama.

The background notes for the study reference several other studies that have already established a link between caffeine intake and urinary incontinence in women. Until this point, information on such a connection in men was limited. Research studies have shown that for women, caffeine intake contributes to bladder incontinence. ”Women who consume high levels of caffeine are 70% more likely to have urinary incontinence than women who don’t,” said Jon Gleason, MD, an instructor and fellow at the University of Alabama at Birmingham Medical School’s Division of Women’s Pelvic Medicine and Reconstructive Surgery.

This particular study included 5,000 American men age 20 and up. The analysis showed that men who consumed 234mg or more of caffeine were 72% more likely to have moderate to severe urinary incontinence than men who consumed less or none. Men who had 392mg or more of caffeine were more than twice as likely to have bladder incontinence and leaks.

The final finding of the study was that caffeine consumption equivalent to approximately 2 cups of coffee per day (250mg) is significantly associated with moderate-severe urinary incontinence (UI) in US men.” The study called for further studies to investigate this link. Although coffee intake is not the only cause of men’s bladder incontinence, it certainly can be counted as a contributing factor.

In contrast, men’s total water intake was not linked to their risk for moderate to severe UI. The best beverage to drink is water overall, for hydration and water will not irritate the bladder.

Green tea is another option, and may be the best hot drink for incontinence sufferers. An Australian study found that women who drank more green tea had less symptoms of urinary incontinence.

If you are experiencing urinary incontinence, try experimenting with less coffee and caffeinated beverages. If symptoms continue, contact us. There are many options available to treat incontinence. Or call our discreet, dedicated Medical Concierge at 1-800-771-1953 to learn more.

About The Incontinence Institute

At the Incontinence Institute, our team of healthcare providers understand the physical and mental trials that accompany living with urinary or bowel incontinence. Because of this, we are sensitive to your situation and treat all of our patients with the utmost respect and concern for discretion.

Individual incontinence conditions, treatment and recovery times may vary. Each patient's experience with incontinence procedures and / or surgery will differ. All surgical procedures involve some level of risk. If directed to pursue surgery by your physician, prompt action is advised, as waiting may reduce the efficacy of surgical treatment. The opinions expressed in patient testimonials are by patients only; they are not qualified medical professionals. These opinions should not be relied upon as, or in place of, the medical advice of a licensed doctor, etc.

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