Harvard Men's Health Watch

Caffeine may worsen urinary leakage

Men who consume the amount of caffeine in two cups of coffee per day appear to have more bladder leakage (urinary incontinence) than men who drink less or don't drink coffee at all, according to a study in The Journal of Urology. Scientists examined data from the National Health and Nutrition Examination Survey, which compiles national health and lifestyle statistics.

Men who consumed 234 milligrams (mg) or more of caffeine per day reported moderate to severe incontinence on the survey, meaning more than a few drops of urine leakage per month. Leakage may be triggered by straining the abdominal muscles, as during coughing or sneezing.

This study can't prove cause and effect, but men with urinary incontinence could try to moderate their intake of caffeinated beverages and see if it helps. An 8-ounce cup of coffee has about 125 mg of caffeine; a large coffee-shop container may contain twice that amount.

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