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Can caffeine affect incontinence and overactive bladder symptoms?

Today, we’re going to ask the question:

Can caffeine affect incontinence and overactive bladder symptoms?

The answer is yes, caffeine can be a risk factor for some people who suffer from incontinence and overactive bladder symptoms (OAB).

This is because caffeine can actually irritate the bladder for some people, particularly women, due to the diuretic effect of caffeine and the fact that caffeine can also make the muscles that contract when you urinate or defecate overactive.

There has been some scientific research, but it must be said that the research is not conclusive.

The University of Alabama has conducted some research on this subject and their conclusion was that women who consume high levels of caffeine are 70% more likely to have urinary incontinence than women who don't.

So, how did these scientists conduct the study?

The researchers evaluated data on 1,356 women, aged 20 to 85, who had participated in the 2005-2006 Survey in which the women kept food diaries on two separate days and also answered questions about bladder function.

From this research, they discovered that women who reported consuming 329 milligrams of caffeine a day, equivalent to 3 cups of coffee daily, had a 70% higher likelihood of having the bladder problem.

However, there are other factors to consider, such as that people who had a high caffeine intake were more likely to be aged 40-59 and to drink alcohol.

In short, there are other risk factors that could contribute to this result, so it’s not completely clear.

There is some more research on the matter, for example, the University of Pennsylvania published a study in the mid-1990s that returned similar results as the University of Alabama study.

So, what to do if you suffer from an overactive bladder or incontinence, should you reduce your caffeine intake?

It might be preferable to cut out caffeine altogether and replace it with decaffeinated coffee, water and herbal or fruit teas.

But, that’s not always right for everyone and it is hard to completely stop drinking coffee, so it’s sensible to be more mindful of your caffeine consumption and trial cutting your caffeine consumption by drinking Half Caff coffee or decaffeinated coffee.

Here at, we recommend the Swiss Water Process of decaffeination, which uses water (no chemicals) to decaffeinate the coffee beans and is 99.9% caffeine free.

To find out more, please visit or check out our youtube channel for more videos on decaf, caffeine and coffee topics.

IMPORTANT: This information is intended to support, not replace, discussion with your doctor or healthcare professionals. Nothing in the content or products should be considered, or used as a substitute for, medical advice, diagnosis or treatment. You should always talk to your health care provider for diagnosis and treatment, including your specific medical needs.


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