Coffee May Increase Incontinence Symptoms in Men


Although that extra cup of joe may be what gets you through the day, new research shows that coffee may increase urinary incontinence symptoms in men just as it does  in women. Caffeine is a well-known diuretic. While recent research has suggested that drinking two to six cups of coffee a day has health benefits—it is, for instance, a good source of antioxidants—another study at the University of Alabama has determined that it can also raise the risk of adverse effects.

The study

From the results of two National Health and Nutrition Examination Surveys (NHANES) between 2005 and 2008, researchers at the University of Alabama analyzed data from more than 4,000 men over the age of 20. They looked at caffeine found in their food and other drinks, as well as water intake. Initially, data showed that, on average, men consumed 169 mg of caffeine daily -- a little more than one cup of coffee. Then, the researchers adjusted the data based on age, diet habits and other factors.

They found that men who drank 234 mg or more of caffeine daily were 72 percent more likely to ** show moderate to severe incontinence**** symptoms.** They classified moderate to severe incontinence symptoms as leaking more than a few drops of urine a month. Researchers also found those who drank 392 mg daily were more than twice as likely to have bladder problems, specifically leaky bladder. On average, two cups of coffee is about 250 mg of caffeine.

Studies at the University of Alabama have previously shown that three or more cups of coffee a day can make women three times more likely to develop bladder problems. However, the effects of high caffeine intake in men were not as well-known. Incontinence is estimated to affect between 5 and 20 percent of men in the U.S.

Benefits of coffee

It is not the caffeine, but the CGA compound in coffee that can help boost your health. CGA works in the body as an anti-inflammatory, which may help aid in reducing fatty buildup in the liver, or insulin resistance that can lead to type 2 diabetes. A Harvard University study suggests that three cups of coffee can reduce diabetes risk by 10 percent compared to those who don’t drink coffee. The study also noted that, in men, six cups of coffee can reduce diabetes risk by up to 54 percent.

How much should I drink?Researchers from the study say that, based on their data, caffeine in coffee is not the sole root of incontinence, but suggest it can be an important trigger. Taking into account your age, tolerance, daily fluid intake and diet can help you and your doctor determine how much coffee is right for you and how to avoid the risk of incontinence.

Those who are already managing overactive bladder should try to limit coffee intake to one cup or consider herbal teas. Those who are older or taking diuretic medications should also speak to their doctor about coffee’s effects on urinary frequency. Caffeine is not limited to coffee, however, as most sodas and energy drinks contain 50 to 100 mg of caffeine. Take into account your consumption of these products, as well. Some research has shown that 250 mg of caffeine may be a threshold for some people. Diuretic effects aren’t really present when consuming less than 250 mg of caffeine daily, but drinking more can cause irritation to the bladder and have a diuretic effect, which can eventually trigger incontinence.

See Also: Coffee drinkers have "cleaner" arteries (Daily Dose)