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Caffeine and the Unstable Bladder

Caffeine is considered a no-no for many conditions, and an unstable bladder is high on the list.  One study found that women who drink the equivalent of 4 cups of regular coffee a day are nearly 2.5 times as likely to have an unstable bladder than those who drink less than 1 cup per day.

"Unstable bladder" is also called urge incontinence.  In this condition, the muscles in the bladder wall contract on their own, causing a sudden, uncomfortable and often uncontrollable urge to pee.  This urge has many triggers, including caffeine, alcohol, and acidic or spicy foods.

This is a different kind of incontinence than stress incontinence, or "Baby Bladder", which is much more common.   Stress incontinence causes bladder leakage when you cough, sneeze, exercise, dance, or do anything that causes increased pressure on your bladder.  It is often associated with childbirth.  Women with stress incontinence are not affected by caffeine or other triggers of urge incontinence.

The bad news about incontinence is the high percentage of women who suffer with it in silence.  The good news is that there are now several treatment options.  Leaking urine for any reason is not normal for adults of any age.  If you have this problem, speak with your doctor.   

For more information, click here.

Created: 6/18/2001  -  Donnica Moore, M.D.

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