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Coffee and Its Effect on the Urinary Tract

What is the effect of coffee on the urinary tract?

Coffee is one of the most popular and widely loved beverages in the world. Its stimulating effects on the central nervous system, and its flavor and scent make it a favorite for many. But what exactly is coffee? It’s a complex combination of about 800 chemicals, the most prevalent of which are caffeine and chlorogenic acids

Caffeine is the most popular stimulant in the world. For many, it is the only thing that gets them out of bed in the morning. But have you ever considered what happens to the rest of your body after having it? Besides the pick-me-up it can give you in the morning, caffeine has a diuretic impact and affects the bladder by raising bladder pressure and increasing bladder muscle activity. If you are having bladder and urinary system difficulties, it may very well be that caffeine is the culprit.

How does caffeine impact the bladder?

Caffeine is a diuretic, which means that it can affect the frequency that you urinate. If drunk in large quantities, it might also increase the urge to urinate. Caffeine likely has a direct impact on the smooth muscle of the bladder, creating a potential to irritate the tissues of the bladder and produce involuntary bladder contractions. Caffeine can causes the body to lose water by increasing the volume of urine, making you dehydrated. In addition, caffeine makes you need to urinate because of increased pressure in the capillaries of the kidney, which also results in increased urine.

All of the dehydration from the frequent need to urinate can deplete some of some nutrients, such as calcium, magnesium, and sodium. 

*Antidiuretic hormone (ADH) is a hormone that regulates urine output in your body. Your body produces this hormone to retain fluids in your body and reduce the need to urinate, depending on the level of dehydration in your body. Coffee suppresses ADH, resulting in highly dilute urine output.

Is decaf coffee better for the urinary tract?

Decaffeinated coffee is made from coffee beans that have had at least 97% of its caffeine removed. Many assume that drinking decaffeinated coffee does not expose them to caffeine. However, the reality is that even though a significant amount of caffeine has been removed, it is still not free of caffeine. Coffee is deemed to be decaffeinated if it contains less than 3% caffeine. Because of this, even a cup of decaffeinated coffee has some caffeine.

Although reducing the amount of caffeine you have may help to alleviate bladder troubles, consuming decaffeinated coffee may still stimulate the urinary system. Looking at findings from research on persons who drink caffeinated and decaffeinated coffee, it is possible to conclude that:

  • The frequency and urgency to urinate are high among both people who drink caffeinated and decaffeinated coffee.
  • No changes in urinary symptoms were seen among people who drank decaffeinated coffee.
  • Drinking coffee before test trials was a significant determinant in how caffeine intake altered urine symptoms during the investigation.
  • People with a history of 'low coffee consumption' (less than half a cup per day) saw a more severe rise in urinary symptoms when they had more caffeine.
  • Those who had a history of "frequent coffee drinking" (more than one cup per day) were less influenced by drinking coffee during the trial.
  • Frequent coffee drinkers had a considerable reduction in urinary symptoms after drinking decaffeinated coffee.
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