Coffee is the go-to drink for millions of people when they need a push to get them through the morning. The day’s first cup of coffee or tea can be a great way to wake up in the morning and get that extra dose of energy to push through your routine and make it to work. The first cup is usually followed up by more cups to keep a person functioning at an optimal level through the day, but this can have a lot of negative effects on the body. Caffeine works by exciting the circulatory system, which means that there is more blood activity in the body. This is what keeps us alert through the day, but this can also put undue pressure on our bladder. Caffeine is known to be a diuretic, which means that it increases the amount of urine the body makes. Moreover, it increases the blood flowing towards the kidneys while also reducing the absorption of water and sodium, which increases the body’s urgency to pass urine. These effects can also lead to dehydration if the person doesn’t keep himself adequately hydrated. Overconsumption of caffeine leads to various problems linked to the bladder.
1. Bladder Urgency
Bladder urgency is a very common symptom of a bladder that is constantly overactive, and causes a sudden and immediate urge to urinate that cannot be overlooked. This is a very common condition for those who urinate very frequently through the day (at least 8 times a day). Bladder urgency can be caused by a number of factors, such as weak pelvic muscles, medications, alcohol and caffeine. This condition can be quite disruptive because it can strike at any time, and holding your urine is not an option. Caffeine already causes the body to make more urine because of its diuretic properties, but overconsumption can also lead to more complications in the body. Caffeine can dull the nerves that transmit messages between the bladder, and excessive caffeine intake over a long period of time can dull the nerves to such an extent that your brain can no longer recognize when your bladder becomes full. This means that the bladder can overflow and lead to involuntary urine leakage.
2. Urinary Tract Infections
A urinary tract infection can be a very painful condition even if it lasts for a relatively short amount of time. Most people commonly experience painful urination, bladder irritation and continuous sensations of urgency and frequency. It can be cleared up with prescribed antibiotics and increased hydration. Women and the elderly are at the highest risk of developing a urinary tract infection. Because caffeine already affects the bladder in negative ways, it can increase the chances of developing a UTI for those who consume caffeine excessively. An infection in the bladder is caused by bacteria that spreads because of dehydration or inadequate evacuation in the bladder. Caffeine already dehydrates the body because it reduces how much water is absorbed, and causes frequent urination that cannot always be attended to. This puts significant pressure on the bladder, and can lead to a painful UTI. If you’re already suffering from an UTI, it would be best to stay away from caffeine, alcohol and citric drinks and rely solely on water to hydrate yourself.
Incontinence, also known as the unintentional loss of urine, affects more than 13 million Americans who are mostly women. A study done at the University of Alabama found that women who consume high levels of caffeine are 70 percent more likely to later have urinary incontinence when compared to women that don’t consume caffeine. While moderate amounts of caffeine were not linked to this particular bladder problem, higher intakes (329.5 milligrams or higher) showed a significant risk of developing incontinence. However, it is not yet known if caffeine aggravates already existing incontinence caused by other factors. Though it seems unrealistic to completely cut out the caffeine for those who need it to get through the day, reducing caffeine consumption to maximum two cups a day can reduce the negative effects on the bladder.