Does Coffee Have a Negative Effect on the Bladder?
By Hannah Rose
, last updated March 19, 2012
Many people drink caffeine to give them a jolt of energy during their day. Caffeine stimulates the central nervous system and activates various functions throughout your body, increasing your heart rate and bladder function, among others. Most of these are not dangerous complications unless the caffeine dose is excessive, but some -- such as bladder activity -- may be a nuisance.
Caffeine is consumed through your diet and takes up residence in your nervous system. This heightens the activity of the nerves and your senses and can lead to hyperactivity in several different ways. Bladder activity, including frequent urination, can be connected to caffeine use. Though not directly harmful, this can be negative in some situations, particularly if you do not want to be constantly interrupted by the urge to go to the bathroom.
Caffeine can trigger the loss of fluids from the body through processes like urination and sweating. If your caffeine use is heavy, it can produce a highly active bladder that purges fluids from your body. Over time this could lead to dehydration, particularly if you aren't consuming other fluids to replace the ones you are using. Dehydration from caffeine is rarely dangerous, but it could result in complications like constipation, which is affected primarily by your body's hydration levels.
Caffeine can continue working in the body for up to six hours. You may experience an overactive bladder for the entirety of this time. Different people have different sensitivities to caffeine, so while you may not experience much change to your bladder activity, other people might suffer from intense urges to urinate for several hours after consuming caffeine.
Talk to your doctor before taking caffeine if you have pre-existing bladder conditions or are taking other medications -- caffeine can interact badly with some medications. If you experience adverse bladder function even when not taking caffeine, talk to or visit a doctor. Your bladder's unusual function may be the product of other conditions in your body and unrelated to your caffeine use.