Coffee and your bladder

coffee cupCoffee consumption, and caffeine more generally, is a staple of the North American diet. But how much is too much and what are the effects on the bladder?

Lower urinary tract symptoms

Patients with overactive bladder and other lower urinary tract (LUTS) issues may want to cut back on caffeine intake. An international report1 concluded that “although some findings are contradictory, others clearly show an association between the ingestion of caffeine, carbonated drinks, and alcohol with [LUTS] symptom severity.” Also, a review conducted by French researchers2 revealed evidence that decreased caffeine consumption can cut symptoms of overactive bladder by up to one half.

Bladder cancer

Researchers pooled the results from 12 studies, totaling 501,604 participants, on the effects of coffee intake on bladder cancer3. The review found an increased risk of bladder cancer among male smokers who were also high coffee consumers (more than four cups per day). However, the researchers concluded that this link was not likely causal, as it wasn’t evident in female smokers or non-smokers. It is clear that more research needs to be done in this area.

Is decaf coffee okay?

The short answer is yes. There is little to no evidence to suggest that decaffeinated coffee causes increased urination or that it has any impact on urological function. Consequently, it may be a good choice for individuals who wish to cut their caffeine intake.


Coffee consumption is generally safe in normal levels (no more than 4 cups per day), and it is an important part of many cultures. However, individuals with lower urinary tract problems may benefit from limiting their caffeine intake. Talk to your doctor about lifestyle changes that could improve your health.



  1. Are we justified in suggesting change to caffeine, alcohol, and carbonated drink intake in lower urinary tract disease? Report from the ICI-RS 2015. Robinson D, Hanna-Mitchell A, Rantell A, Thiagamoorthy G, Cardozo L. Neurourol Urodyn. 2017 Apr;36(4):876-881.

  2. Food, diet and dietetic in treatment of urinary tract dysfunctions. A review. Turmel N, Hentzen C, Chesnel C, Charlannes A, Le Breton F, Amarenco G. Prog Urol. 2017 Jun;27(7):395-401.

  3. Coffee consumption and risk of bladder cancer: a pooled analysis of 501,604 participants from 12 cohort studies in the BLadder Cancer Epidemiology and Nutritional Determinants (BLEND) international study. Yu EYW, Dai Y, Wesselius A, van Osch F, Brinkman M, van den Brandt P, Grant EJ, White E, Weiderpass E, Gunter M, Hemon B, Zeegers MP. Eur J Epidemiol. 2020 Jan 11.

  4. Coffee consumption and health: umbrella review of meta-analyses of multiple health outcomes. Poole R, Kennedy OJ, Roderick P, Fallowfield JA, Hayes PC, Parkes J. BMJ. 2017 Nov 22;359: j5024.


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