As a healthcare professional who treats patients with urinary incontinence, you’ve probably asked your patients to cut back on caffeine because it can worsen the urinary frequency, urinary urgency and urge incontinence symptoms associated with overactive bladder. Recently, you may also have heard rumors there wasn’t a link between caffeine consumption and urinary incontinence. But are they true?
Caffeine and urinary incontinence
A meta-analysis of observational studies, published in October 2016, set out to assess if there’s a link between coffee/caffeine intake and the risk for urinary incontinence. The analysis, which included seven studies between 2000 and 2013, broke down their analysis by gender and by incontinence subtype.
While results were slightly higher for men than for women (OR 0.99 95% CI 0.42 – 2.32, OR 0.92 95% CI 0.80-1.58, respectively), overall, there was no significant link between coffee/caffeine consumption and incontinence. This also held true when breaking down the results by incontinence subtype. Stress UI had an OR of 1.01 (95% CI 0.86-1.19), urge UI had a OR of 0.99 (95% CI 0.84-1.16), and mixed UI had an OR of 0.93 (95% CI 0.79-1.10).
While these findings might leave some coffee lovers breathing a sigh of relief, even the study authors caution that more research needs to be done. This is especially true when considering that four of the seven studies included in the meta-analysis, when combined, reported the risk for moderate to severe urinary incontinence among those who consumed caffeine daily to have an OR of 1.18 (95%, CI 0.88 to 1.58).
In general, the caffeine intake in the meta-analysis ranged from “never drink coffee” to “regularly drink coffee.” Another 2016 study focused on the specific quantities of caffeine consumed and OAB detection in elderly patients.
Caffeine and the elderly
According to a gallop poll, 74% of adults aged 55 and older consume 3 or more cups of coffee daily. Exact amounts of caffeine per cup isn’t so easy to calculate because the amount can vary depending on the brewing method and/or brand. For instance, dark roast coffee has less caffeine than a lighter roast because the roasting process burns off some of the caffeine, and according to this article Starbucks® coffee has more than twice the amount of caffeine per fluid ounce than coffee from McDonalds®.
In January 2016, a single study sought to determine whether caffeine consumption correlated to the prevalence of overactive bladder in the elderly. The randomized observational study included people age 60 or greater who had not previously been diagnosed or treated for urinary incontinence. The study observed that of the patients who consumed less than 300 mg of caffeine per day, 30% suffered from OAB and 10% had severe detrusor overactivity. In contrast, 48.1% of patients who consumed greater than 300 mg of caffeine per day had overactive detrusor symptoms.
Strategies to lower caffeine consumption
Regardless of age, caffeine consumption has a history of affecting the bladder. But there might be some good news. This small study from 1999 found a relationship between decreasing caffeine intake and less episodes of daytime involuntary urine loss approached statistical significance in women.
Leslie Wooldridge, GNP-BC, CUNP, BCIA-PMD and Director of the Adult Bladder Control Center in Muskegon, MI, has found some middle ground with her patients by suggesting simple strategies like interspersing consumption of known bladder irritants with water to help curb any associated urinary symptoms. Periodic tracking of fluid intake and output with a voiding diary is another way to assess patient progress and help them stay on track during their treatment plan.
Urgent PC is indicated for the treatment of Overactive Bladder and associated symptoms of urinary urgency, urinary frequency and urge incontinence. Treatment with Urgent PC is contraindicated for patients with pacemakers or implantable defibrillators, patients prone to excessive bleeding, patients with nerve damage that could impact either percutaneous tibial nerve or pelvic floor function or patients who are pregnant or planning to become pregnant during the duration of the treatment. Most patients don't experience side-effects. If side-effects occur, they are typically temporary and include mild pain and skin inflammation at or near the stimulation site. Caution: Federal law (USA) restricts this device to sale by or on the order of a physician. For complete instructions for use, storage, warnings, indications, contraindications, precautions, adverse reactions and disclaimer of warranties, please refer to the insert accompanying each product or online at www.cogentixmedical.com. Urgent , McDonalds and Starbucks are registered trademarks. © 2016 Cogentix Medical. All rights reserved.