Does Coffee Irritate the Bladder? (Answered)

You wake up in the morning and have your cup of coffee, and then when you are just about to start school or work, you feel the need to go to the bathroom.

Ordinary people who drink less coffee or don’t drink at all have fewer trips to the bathroom than someone who drinks coffee or caffeine-containing beverages a lot. 

Without coffee, it is nearly impossible to kick start the day, but when our energy booster begins kicking in our bladder, that’s where the problem starts!

Short Answer: The caffeine in coffee can irritate the bladder. Many studies find that taking a lot of caffeine daily in large amounts, either by coffee or other caffeinated products, can affect how your bladder functions. Coffee causes your bladder to contract more often, and those bladder contractions make you feel the strong urge to use the bathroom right away. 

For some, this bladder irritation can be bothersome, and for others, it doesn’t matter.

Also, caffeine is a diuretic that causes your body to make more fluid than you drink, increasing your urge to go to the bathroom and further creating dehydration.

Study data shows that coffee makes the bladder more sensitive, making you feel fuller than you are.

In this article, I am going to talk about whether or not coffee irritates the bladder.

Let’s get into the science behind bladder irritation, why coffee irritates the bladder, and some techniques or ways that can calm the irritated bladder.

Why Does Coffee Irritate the Bladder?

Coffee irritates the bladder because of the caffeine found in the drink. It can cause contraction and increase the strong urge to go to the bathroom.

It happens when you sip on your coffee or other caffeinated drinks. The caffeine irritates the lining of your bladder and provokes muscle spasms that irritate the bladder. That’s why your bladder gets irritated after drinking coffee.

The diuretic properties of caffeine can also raise the frequency of urination. You might have experienced an increase in your urge to urinate when you drink a lot of coffee (3-4 cups / 400 -450 mg) in a day.

Caffeine is also known to have a direct effect on the smooth muscle of the bladder. It causes involuntary bladder contraction and damages the tissues of the bladder; this can cause incontinence urge.

An irritated bladder can cause other symptoms and excessive urination. It can also lead to injury, overactive bladder, irritation in the urinary tract, and interstitial cystitis.

How Long Does Caffeine Affect the Bladder?

An assortment of cups of coffee along with coffee beans and creamers

Coffee starts to affect the bladder within 30 to 45 minutes after drinking. But if you take an excessive amount of coffee, you might need to go to pee right away.

Half of caffeine life is about 4-5 hours, which means after 5 hours or so, its effect starts to dissipate; however, the other half of caffeine can stay in the body for longer. 

It depends upon person to person on how long caffeine affects the bladder and irritates it. If you cut down the amount for the rest of the day, you might feel better.

Similarly, how much caffeine you consume in a day can affect how long it irritates the bladder.

If you feel like eating a specific food or drinking a beverage that increases your urine production, you might need to check what you consume. Go for de-caffeine drinks and food that takes less or no amount of caffeine.

You can check the table below to find out the caffeine amount in your favorite drink.

Drinks Size (ft oz)Calories Caffeine (mg)
Americano Coffee125154
Bizzy Cold Brew2.670125
Black Label Brewed Coffee1201555
Cappuccino1297154
Coffee Instant 8057
Coffee Decaf Instant 862
Coffee Leaf Tea8020
Gloria Jean’s Coffee2.028067
Latte16160154
7 up 121400
Coca Cola Classic1214034
Caffeine amount in different drinks

How Does Caffeine Affect Urine Production?

Caffeine is a diuretic which means it can increase urine production. This happens because coffee can inhibit the Antidiuretic Hormone (ADH), which is what regulates the water in your body, causing you to pee more than usual.

When you drink too much fluid, including coffee, you might have to go to the bathroom often.

After you finish enjoying your cup of coffee, your body conveys signals to the pituitary gland. These glands hinder ADH hormone production, which causes the kidney’s inability to reabsorb the water. As a result, you have excessive water excretion in the form of urine.

If you are taking 2 cups of coffee or tea, within an hour, you can experience the continuous urge to go to the bathroom about 3-4 times in the next 2 hours.

Don’t forget to make sure you go to the bathroom because holding urine can cause an infection that weakens the bladder muscles even more.

Watch the video to learn more about how coffee affects urine production:

How to Calm an Irritated Bladder?

Someone holding their stomach

An Overactive Bladder (OAB) treatment or medicine prescribed by healthcare such as darifenacin (Enablex), tolterodine (Detrol), solifenacin (Vesicare), Levbid, or oxybutynin (Oxytrol), can help calm an irritated bladder.

However, they do have some side effects in using them.

These medications can cause:

  • Constipation
  • Irregular heartbeat 
  • Dry mouth
  • Confusion
  • Headaches

Yet, for some people, these medication works well as:

  • antihistamines
  • antimuscarinics
  • urinary antacids
  • prostaglandins
  • amphetamines

Still, it is wise to only take these treatments after discussing them with your doctor.

A little lifestyle change can also help make the bladder healthy, and some are listed below:

  • Cutting food and drink that cause irritate bladder 
  • Urinating after every 2-3 hours
  • Not holding urine 

Let’s look into some other treatments or lifestyle changes that other people have found to have helped them with their bladder problems. However, before doing that, please be reminded that you should always consult a health professional first before applying any treatment of some sort. The only ones who know how to treat a medical condition affecting your bladder are those who spent years learning to.

Limit Your Coffee Intake

Cut down on the excessive amount of caffeine products, including coffee, tea, chocolates, and alcohol. 

Coffee can cause a high amount of liquid to be in your body and make you urinate excessively. Try to use the bathroom every 2-3 hours, especially if you drink a lot of coffee or tea a day. 

Botox Treatment

If medication doesn’t work for you, your physician might recommend botox treatment.

Botox treatment stops the squeezing of the bladder too much. It also de-stress the muscles of the bladder, plus it reduces the symptoms of OAB.

Study results show the positive effects of botox treatment on interstitial cystitis. The impact of treatment often lasts for 5-6 months.

Weight Loss 

Losing weight, in general, has many health benefits. And it also helps to reduce the symptoms of the irritated bladder. 

Study results found losing fat around the abdominal area of your body help with OAB symptoms.  Weight loss following a healthy diet will improve your overall health, plus it will keep your bladder healthy.

Healthy Diet

Food with antioxidant properties fight off the infection, limit the free radical impact on the bladder and keep the bladder healthy. 

According to the National Association for Continence, modifying your diet with the right food and drink help calm the irritated bladder.

To avoid the OAB, you need to avoid these foods:

  • Coffee 
  • Tea
  • Sports drinks
  • Carbonated beverages
  • Milk
  • Alcoholic beverages
  • Foods that you need to avoid to keep the bladder healthy
  • Caffeine contained medications 
  • Chocolate
  • Citrus juice and fruits
  • Tomatoes 
  • Honey
  • Sour cream
  • Corn syrup
  • Raw onion
  • Spicy foods
  • Soy sauce
  • Milk-based products
  • Sugar and artificial sweeteners
  • Vitamins with aspartame
  • Vinegar
  • Strawberries

To keep track of your food and notice any symptoms after eating a particular food, you need to eat fiber-rich diets; lots of fruits, vegetables, and nuts can help soothe the irritated bladder.

Here are some food and drink you can try to make your bladder healthy:

  • Apricots, papaya, and watermelon instead of acidic fruits.            
  • Drink Kava (low-acid instant coffee) or Pero coffee.
  • Non-citrus herbal 
  • Calcium carbonate contains calcium ascorbate instead of Vitamin C.

Exercise

Starting with a warm-up and following any pelvic floor muscle exercise can prevent urine leakage and reduce irritation of the bladder. Light pelvic floor exercises such as Kegels, quick flicks, squats, bridge, split tabletop, bridge dog help relax your bladder muscle. 

According to AUA, kegel pelvic muscle exercise reduce the squeezing in muscle and cal the bladder. 

Nerve Stimulation 

When nothing seems to work out for you, and you have tried lifestyle changes, botox treatment, and medication, nerve stimulation is another option your doctor might suggest. 

There are two types of nerve stimulation:

1. Percutaneous tibial nerve stimulation (PTNS)

In PTNS, the Physician runs 12 sessions of nerve stimulation. It helps the brain and nerve connection. 

2. Sacral neuromodulation (SNS)

Docter uses a bladder pacemaker device in Sacral neuromodulation (SNS) treatment to regulate the Sacral nerve signal. 

Final Thoughts

Drinking too much fluid in whatever form can ultimately increase urine production. But the caffeine in coffee doubles the effect and can even irritate your bladder.

I understand skipping coffee for making the bladder healthy can cause other effects such as caffeine withdrawal or headaches and tiredness. You can limit the intake for a day or two and try one of the techniques mentioned above to calm your bladder.

However, don’t use medication without discussing your condition with your doctor first. You can talk with your healthcare professional to conclude what treatment suits you best. If nothing works effectively, you can try complementary therapies or supplements such as resiniferatoxin and capsaicin.

All in all, how coffee affects your bladder mainly depends on how much you are taking it in a day. Because as we all know, moderation is the key when it comes to the daily intake of coffee. Take care of your bladder first, and try to limit your caffeine consumption.

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Matt Marshall

As I learn more and more about coffee and coffee products I want to share all my learnings with you here on this website. I hope you find my articles useful and entertaining to read.

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