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Can coffee cause UTI?

by Tina Sendin December 02, 2019

Can coffee cause UTI?

Coffee has been a staple in the everyday life of 64 percent of Americans. In fact, coffee has become a morning (even afternoon and good lord – evening) routine for many that the National Coffee Association reported this: Americans have been at the peak of their coffee-loving selves since 2012. [1]

It’s not too hard to fathom why this is so – coffee comes with a whole heap of benefits. From giving you that familiar morning perk, helping you achieve better brain performance, boosting your metabolism and even improving sports performance.

But when you get used to having one too many cups a day, in fact even more than you’re supposed to, then it becomes a double-edged sword. Coffee can also cause adverse effects like migraines, an upset stomach, and the feeling of being tired.

And for some people, drinking coffee is linked to another not-so-pleasant experience – Urinary Tract Infection (UTI).

But does coffee really cause UTI?

  

Urinary Tract Infection in women

Urinary Tract Infection or UTI is such a common occurrence that it’s the second most prevalent infection affecting around 8 million people every year. [2]

UTI is “an infection that affects any part of the urinary tract, including the kidneys, ureters, bladder or urethra.” [34]

The National Institute of Diabetes and Digestive and Kidney Diseases reports that 40-60 per cent of women will suffer from it at least once in their lifetime. [5]

Because it’s so common, knowing the signs and symptoms of UTI is key.

 

So can coffee cause UTI? 

Great news to coffee-lovers – coffee does NOT cause UTI. 

But if you happen to contract UTI, you might as well avoid it until you treat it completely. 

According to Livestrong.com, the caffeine in coffee can make your UTI worse as it causes the bacteria to stick more to your bladder and irritate it at the same time. Plus, because caffeine has a mild diuretic effect (makes you pee), it can just make you go to the toilet more. With UTI, this means more burning sensation while peeing. [6]

And taking in too many diuretics may worsen UTI because it could result in dehydration. In this context, if you’re dehydrated, your pee gets a higher concentration of salts which may irritate your bladder more.

 

Too much caffeine can cause bladder problems 

Of course the operative words here are “too much.” WebMD reports that having too many cups of joe may lead to detrusor instability. It means that the bladder contracts involuntary, causing one to rush to the bathroom or worse – random peeing (aka wet one’s pants). [6]

According to a study of over 250 women evaluated for urinary continence, drinking more than four cups of coffee a day increases the likelihood for detrusor instability: [6]

In a study of more than 250 women who were being evaluated for urinary incontinence, researchers from Rhode Island found that those who downed more than four cups of coffee per day were 2.5 times more likely than those who consumed little or no caffeine to have an unstable bladder condition called detrusor instability. Those who drank two to four cups of coffee per day (or the equivalent in other caffeinated beverages) were about 1.5 times more likely to have the condition.

Up to 40 percent of women over 65 may have an unstable bladder problem, as may nearly 30 percent of younger women.  

 

Can you still drink coffee if you’re suffering from UTI?

If you want to get rid of UTI fast, the best thing to do is to steer clear of caffeine until you get it treated completely. You may as well avoid coffee, as well as other caffeine products like tea, chocolates, even ice cream.

Hydrate yourself by drinking clear liquids like water and cranberry juice. Livestrong says: [7

Cranberries are an antioxidant that can help prevent bacteria from sticking to the walls of your bladder. Liquids are important in helping to cleanse and flush your kidneys naturally. Clear liquids can help to dilute your urine, making urination more comfortable.

 

Other ways to treat UTI

Apart from drinking clear liquids, there are other ways to get out of this painful situation.

According to the Mayo Clinic, antibiotics are the first line of treatment for UTI. [8] How long the treatment and the specific drugs to take all depend on the severity of the infection.

You could also complement your cranberry intake with probiotics, which are known to help with digestion as well as UTI treatment and prevention. Probiotics also have good bacteria called Lactobacillus, which can replace the bad ones.

Another that works well in both preventing and treating UTI is a simple sugar pretty much like glucose that acts as an antibacterial agent, D-mannose. [9]

According to Livestrong: [10]

“The sugars in D-mannose coat the lining of the urinary tract and bladder as they pass through the body. These sugars not only cover mucus membranes but they surround bacterial cells making it impossible for them to stick to the walls of the bladder or urinary tract. The bacteria remain free floating and are passed out of the body in the urine.”

D-mannose can significantly lower the number of bacteria in the urinary tract and urine within a day. [11] So if you’re suffering from this pesky infection, go ahead and find yourself D-mannose right away!

D-mannose may be found in supplements like VALI D-Mannose UTI Support.

 

Conclusion

Coffee does NOT cause UTI and you shouldn’t have to give it up just to prevent UTI.

But in unfortunate cases of having to soldier on with this pesky infection, you might as well avoid your regular cup of joe (at least until you treat UTI completely). Drink lots of clear liquids like water and cranberry juice, and combat UTI with antibiotics and D-mannose.

 

Sources

[1] https://www.reuters.com/article/us-coffee-conference-survey/americans-are-drinking-a-daily-cup-of-coffee-at-the-highest-level-in-six-years-survey-idUSKCN1GT0KU

[2] https://medlineplus.gov/urinarytractinfections.html

[3] https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmedhealth/PMHT0024568/

[4] https://www.healthline.com/nutrition/uti-home-remedies#section1

[5] https://www.niddk.nih.gov/health-information/urologic-diseases/bladder-infection-uti-in-adults/definition-facts

[6] https://www.webmd.com/urinary-incontinence-oab/news/20000721/watch-lattes-too-much-caffeine-may-lead-to-bladder-problems#2

[7] https://www.livestrong.com/article/464671-can-coffee-give-you-a-urinary-tract-infection/

[8] https://www.mayoclinic.org/diseases-conditions/urinary-tract-infection/diagnosis-treatment/drc-20353453

[9] https://www.webmd.com/vitamins-and-supplements/d-mannose-uses-and-risks

[10] https://www.livestrong.com/article/125096-benefits-d-mannose/

[11] https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC4931387/

 

 




Tina Sendin
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