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Is Coffee a Diuretic? Understanding Its Effects on Urination

Is Coffee a Diuretic? Understanding Its Effects on Urination

How many times in a day do you feel like you need to rush to the bathroom?

Spending half of your busy day rushing towards the bathroom can be such a nuisance. But did you know, frequent urge to pee is a common symptom of certain types of diseases?

If you are experiencing such a situation, don’t worry because you are not alone! Many people go through this daily, and one out of many reasons that make you pee all the time is your favorite cup of coffee.

Coffee is a diuretic that can make you pee more because its caffeine content causes the pituitary gland to feel the need to pee and flush out a large volume of liquid from your body. As a result, coffee can also make you dehydrated faster than usual.

Caffeine may exacerbate urinary incontinence. Health professionals recommend limiting caffeine intake for individuals with a risk of 18 % for UI. 

In this article, we will look if coffee does make you pee more and if you should stop drinking coffee. Let’s get it!

What Makes You Pee More?

Anything you drink will eventually cause you to pee more, however, caffeine expedites the process. 

First, let’s see how you are experiencing frequent urination. Generally, people need to go to the bathroom 4-8 times a day. So, if you are rushing to the toilet more than 8 times, that indicates a problem that needs to be checked immediately. 

Apart from drinking fluid like water and coffee, things that trigger the urge to go to pee are:

  • Diabetes: Frequent urination and excessive thirst are common symptoms of diabetic patients.
  • Bladder cancer: You often see blood with excessive urine.
  • Medication: There are types of medication that trigger the urge to go to the bathroom
  • UTI: Urinary tract infection is one of the common reasons for frequent urination.
  • Overactive bladder. Where you feel an intense urge to pee
  • Weak Pelvic Muscles: Mostly women who gave birth, or if someone goes through surgery, heavy lifting, or constipation issues.
  • Kidney Stones: People with kidney stones go through frequent urination.
  • Interstitial cystitis: Bladder and pelvic pain and trigger the urge to pee constantly.

All of these can be one of the reasons why you are urinating more than usual, however, coffee can make the urge more strong.

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Does coffee make your pee smell?

Coffee can make your pee smell but this is nothing to be embarrassed about. Most coffee drinkers have experienced that their urine smells weird. Coffee contains compounds, such as polyphenols /hydroxycinnamic acids, that have health benefits along with an odd smell. 

This compound becomes a waste product called metabolites by breaking down in your body. So, some of these metabolites are released with urine.

These metabolites from the compounds in coffee are causing your urine to smell.

Hydroxycinnamic is not the only reason for smelling urine; it can be something else. People with diabetes also experience smelly pee. If you are also experiencing something like this, talk to your doctor, it can be a sign of diabetes or some other health problem. 

To get rid of urine that smells like coffee, switch to green or black teas.

Green or black tea contains less caffeine than brewed coffee. Drink a lot of water if you are addicted to 3-4 cups of coffee, or try to dilute your regular coffee with more water content.

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Should I Stop Drinking Coffee If It Makes Me Pee a Lot?

coffee being poured into a coffee cup

If coffee makes you pee a lot, it is better to cut it off entirely for a few days until your bladder recovers properly and stops excessive urine. 

Also, if you can’t cut it completely, try to limit the intake for a few days because those who take moderate caffeine intake (182mg) per day didn’t show any correlation to excessive urine or bladder leakage.

More intake of coffee is what is problematic here. As the study conducted on women shows, those whose daily intake of coffee is more than 329mg are those who are most likely to get bladder incontinence. 

Ordinary people have trips to the bathroom around 6 to 8 times in 24 hours. Even 10 times is expected normal if the person does not excessively feel the urge. 

Follow these simple lifestyle changes to help your incontinence bladder recover faster, along with cutting caffeine:

Avoid Diuretics

Food and drinks create more fluid, including carbonated and caffeinated beverages. Plus all kinds of acidic fruit/ juice, spicy food, artificial sweeteners.

Eat More Fiber

Include fiber-rich food in your diet. Fiber prevents constipation. Constipation can lead to frequent urination, so you stay on the safe side when you eat more fiber.

Strengthen Your Pelvic Muscles

Kegels in this regard is a helpful exercise. It not only keeps the glute and thigh strengthen but further improves your gut system to avoid diarrhea and frequent urination.

How Does Coffee Affect The Bladder?

Caffeine has a direct effect on the bladder’s smooth muscle.

Your body digest coffee faster than solid foods. Coffee contains caffeine, a stimulant that boosts detrusor muscle stimulation, a smooth muscle in the bladders wall. This muscle stays relaxed so that the bladder can store the urine, and the muscle finally contracts when it tries to release the urine. 

So once you finish a cup, the sensor in the bladder sends the signal that it is filling up towards the micturition center (science-person term for peeing) in the brain stem that is responsible for telling you that you are thirsty, hungry to want to throw up. 

That’s how your brain and bladder work simultaneously to tell you that it’s tied to go to the bathroom. 

This exciting process becomes faster if you have an overactive bladder.

Drinking 8 ounces of water can make you go to the bathroom, so this makes sense that drinking too much coffee along with water can even make the urge strong.

A study also shows that daily drinkers who consumed no more than 300mg caffeine through beverages and food per day, around 30% of suffering from OAB, and 10% of them from severe detrusor overactivity. Not only that, about 50% of patients who take more than 300mg suffer from OAB.

I went more in-depth on this certain topic in my other article Does Coffee Irritate the Bladder, and you can check it out if you’re interested.

Can coffee cause burning urination?

An above view of coffee in different colored mugs

Coffee can cause burning urination, especially for people with UTI. This is because the acidity of coffee can mess with the bladder lining and cause irritation. Healthy people won’t experience burning urination after coffee as much as people with UTI, but still, it wouldn’t hurt to be cautious.

Always remember that the set limit of caffeine per day is 400mg as approved by the FDA. Anything above that can have adverse effects, one of which can be an irritated bladder.

According to the National Kidney Foundation, one out of five women suffer from one type of UTI urinary tract infection- and around 20% of them even suffer from more than one UTI infection.

You feel a burning sensation in the bladder due to a bladder infection. When bacteria enter your urinary system, they cause UTI and other bladder infections. You feel the burn, pain, and cramping in the urinary tract.

Drinking coffee with an irritated bladder can make the condition worse.

Coffee has an acidic effect that causes burning urination for patients with UTI. Healthy people don’t go through such problems after drinking coffee. But still, to avoid such a painful scenario, everyone should need to cut down their caffeine intake. 

If you feel the below-mentioned symptoms, then you need to cut the coffee right away: 

  • Blood in the urine
  • Feeling of pressure
  • Cramping in the lower abdomen
  • Foul-smelling urine
  • Kidney or bladder stones
  • Low-grade fever or chills
  • Pain during intercourse
  • Passing frequent, small amounts of urine
  • Pelvic pain
  • Stinging or burning feeling when urinating
  • Cloudy urine

Until your bladder recovers properly, switch to decaf or low caffeine alternatives, such as:

DrinksCaffeine Content 
Herbal Tea0mg
Folgers Classic Decaf2- 8mg
Lipton Decaffeinated Black TeaLess than 5mg
K Cup Decaf4mg
Alternatives drink with low amounts of caffeine

How long does coffee affect the bladder? 

Coffee affects your bladder for as long as caffeine stays in your system. The caffeine in coffee has a half-life of 5 to 6 hours, but it can stay in your system for as long as 10 hours.

Coffee affects the bladder as long as you don’t take action and limit the intake of coffee. Plus, patients with worse bladder conditions need to avoid it altogether to recover fully.

Everything you eat goes straight in your stomach and hangs out there for about five minutes to an hour depending on how much you have eaten or drink.

Liquid such as coffee and water, however, is quicker to digest compared to solid foods.

Lisa Anderson, a professor at the University of Minnesota, points out that the reason morning coffee on an empty stomach makes you rush to the bathroom right away is because the body gets to work faster to send coffee from the intestines and kidneys towards the bladder on an empty stomach.

A study was conducted on 20 women with detrusor instability. They were given 200mg of Caffeine. And after few minutes, they have shown a significant increase in detrusor pressure on the bladder.

This indicates that caffeine in coffee is not a healthy option for people with bladder issues.


Bladder infections are painful and irritating. You don’t want to make it worse. Coffee does give you perks of energy and happiness, but it is not a good drink for people suffering from UTI symptoms. 

It is a known bladder irritant and too much of it can lead to unwanted negative effects.

In short, coffee makes you pee more. Watch this video for a better understanding.

If you are experiencing symptoms of bladder infection or if coffee is consistently causing a burning feeling every time you urinate, it’s best to try and avoid coffee for few days. Instead, try herbal teas that have zero caffeine until your bladder recovers.

Always do what’s best for your health, and keep your caffeine intake below the set limit.

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