Caffeine could cause male incontinence

Kimberly Gillan
Thursday, January 17, 2013
Image: Thinkstock

Drinking four cups of coffee a day could cause a leaky bladder in men, according to US research.

Past studies have found a link between caffeine and bladder leakage in women, but this is one of the first studies into men.

While the study did not prove that caffeine causes incontinence, the researchers observed that men who consumed more than 234 milligrams of caffeine every day –– just under four cups of coffee –– were 72 percent more likely to have severe urinary incontinence than those who drank very little.

"It's something to consider," said study author Dr Alayne Markland, from the University of Alabama at Birmingham.

"People who are having problems with urinary incontinence should modify their caffeine intake and I think that's part of clinical practice."

Incontinence is thought to affect more than 3.8 million Australians.

In the study, Dr Markland and her team analysed health survey responses from 4000 men.

They looked at how much caffeine they consumed and the rate of incontinence. They also took into account how much water they consumed.

Thirteen percent of the participants had experienced a leaky bladder, but only 4.5 percent had a moderate or severe problem, with more than a few drops each month.

The men who consumed more than 392 milligrams of caffeine each day had double the chance of incontinence.

But no link was found with water consumption.

Other studies have found caffeine can irritate the bladder in women, which Dr Markland said could also be the case with men.

Now the researchers say studies are needed that limit caffeine consumption in men with incontinence to see if it makes a difference.

The study was published in The Journal of Urology.

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