Caffeine and Incontinence

Jasmine Schmidt Health Guide
  • I’m currently fostering an abandoned newborn kitten. She’s adorable, but the midnight feedings are taking their toll on me. I’m not usually a caffeine drinker, but given my current circumstances I’ve taken to drinking Chai Tea and soda more than usual, although I don’t care much for coffee. While caffeine doesn’t actually cause incontinence, it can certainly be a contributing factor.

    Caffeine acts in two different ways that could possibly be affecting your incontinence. First, it affects the urine production in your kidneys. Caffeine is a diuretic, so it causes your kidneys to pull out extra fluid from your body tissues. That extra fluid is then funneled into your bladder, where the fluid accumulates more quickly. Second, caffeine is a bladder irritant, forcing you to empty your bladder more often. Caffeine is not the only bladder irritant; red pepper, alcohol, spicy foods, acidic fruit and juices and smoking are also bladder irritants for many.
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    Eliminating caffeine from your diet can seem like a daunting task to the three-cups-of-joe-a-day drinker. Do you have to do it? Of course not. This is your own life, and you are responsible for the choices you make (of course, it’s always a good idea to get the opinion of a medical professional as well). But think for a moment of those times when you’re hesitant to go about your daily activities because you’re fearful of being too far from a toilet or having an “accident.” Have you worried about attending a child’s or grandchild’s outdoor wedding? Have you missed special concerts or performances? Do you still feel free to go on walks, hikes or bike rides in the great outdoors? Some consume coffee or other caffeinated beverages for the flavor, but most drink for the caffeine so that they’ll be able to live actively. Are you living as actively as you would like to, or is your misbehaving bladder holding you back?

    You don’t have to commit to giving up all forms of caffeine forever, but if you’re finding yourself noticing more and more ways that incontinence is gaining control of your life, you may want to consider giving up the caffeine for just two weeks. After those two weeks, you might not notice any difference at all, but there’s also a chance that you WILL see and feel a difference in your level of continence. After those two weeks, you can still have some caffeine in moderation, but take it slowly and see how your body responds. Is it worth it to go without caffeine in exchange for greater bladder control? I can’t answer that… and neither can you until you give it a try!

    If you’re going to give this a try, post your progress on the message boards so that everyone can encourage each other along!
Published On: July 05, 2006