Caffeine consumption is highly prevalent in the adult population. First-line treatment of overactive bladder (OAB) symptoms involves behavioral modification, which includes reduction of caffeine consumption. A literature review over the last 3 years has identified 10 peer-reviewed articles that investigated the effects and mechanisms of caffeine on OAB symptoms. The literature describes that caffeine can be associated to de novo OAB symptoms or their exacerbation. Those effects have been found to be dose dependent. Significant associations to age and gender cannot be made at this point due to limited studies. This review raises awareness of caffeine’s potential causal impact on OAB symptoms, which is important when counseling the general population and patients suffering from OAB. Since there is a lack of evidence-based data to support clinical recommendations, more controlled-randomized prospective studies are needed to assess the impact of caffeine on OAB symptoms that also control for dose, gender, and age.
This is a preview of subscription content, access via your institution.
Buy single article
Instant access to the full article PDF.
Tax calculation will be finalised during checkout.
Subscribe to journal
Immediate online access to all issues from 2019. Subscription will auto renew annually.
Tax calculation will be finalised during checkout.
United States Food and Drug Administration
Gamma amino butyric acid
Quality of life
Urge urinary incontinence
Stress urinary incontinence
Lower urinary tract symptoms
Papers of particular interest, published recently, have been highlighted as: • Of importance •• Of major importance
Robinson D, Giarenis I, Cardozo L. You are what you eat: the impact of diet on overactive bladder and lower urinary tract symptoms. Maturitas. 2014;79(1):8–13. Elaborates how certain irritative fluids, including caffeine, can promote urinary symptoms.
Jayarajan J, Radomski SB. Pharmacotherapy of overactive bladder in adults: a review of efficacy, tolerability, and quality of life. Res Reports Urol. 2014;6:1. Elaborates on treatment options for OAB.
Radomski SB, Barkin J. Medical management of overactive bladder. Can J Uro. 2012;19 Suppl 1:2–9.
Arya LA, Myers DL, Jackson ND. Dietary caffeine intake and the risk for detrusor instability: a case-control study. Obstet Gynecol. 2000;96(1):85–9.
Lohsiriwat S, Hirunsai M, Chaiyaprasithi B. Effect of caffeine on bladder function in patients with overactive bladder symptoms. Urology annals. 2011;3(1):14–8.
Jura YH, Townsend MK, Curhan GC, Resnick NM, Grodstein F. Caffeine intake, and the risk of stress, urgency and mixed urinary incontinence. J Urol. 2011;185(5):1775–80.
Davis NJ, Vaughan CP, Johnson II TM, Doode PS, Burgio KL, Redden DT, et al. Caffeine intake and its association with urinary incontinence in United States men: results from national health and nutrition examination surveys 2005–2006 and 2007–2008. J Urol. 2013;189(6):2170–4. Men who ingest high doses of caffeine are more likely to have stress and urgency urinary incontinence.
Gleason JL, Richter HE, Redden DT, Goode PS, Burgio KL, Markland AD. Caffeine and urinary incontinence in US women. Int Urogynecol J. 2013;24(2):295–302. Women, who ingest high doses of caffeine, are more likely to have non-specific urinary incontinence.
Staack, Distelberg B, Schlaifer A, Sabate: Prospective study on the effects of regular and decaffeinated coffee on urinary symptoms in young and healthy volunteers. Neurourol Urody 2015, Dec 24;High dose caffeine (450 mg/ day) but not low dose caffeine (12mg/day as found in decaffeinated coffee) can increase incidence of de novo OAB symptoms healthy younger adult.
Coyne KS, Sexton CC, Bell JA, Thompson CL, Dmochowski R, Bavendam T, et al. The prevalence of lower urinary tract symptoms (LUTS) and overactive bladder (OAB) by racial/ethnic group and age: results from OAB-POLL. Neurol Urodyn. 2012;32(3):230–7. Exemplifies how prevalent urinary symptoms are in the general population.
Bartley JM, Blum ES, Sirls LT, Peters KM. Understanding clinic options for overactive bladder. Current Urol Report. 2013;14:541–8. Outlines ways to understand and treat OAB.
Demura S, Aoki H, Mizusawa T, Soukura K, Noda M, Sato T. Gender differences in coffee consumption and its effects in young people. Food Nutr Sci. 2013;4:748–57. Elaborates on caffeine’s varying impact on males versus females.
Rafetto, M, Grumet, T, French, G. Effects of caffeine and coffee on interstitial cystitis and cystitis. Teeccino Caffé, Inc. © September 2004. https://secure.teeccino.com/images/uploads/pages/File/urinary.pdf. Accessed September 30, 2015.
Yoshimura N, Chancellor MB. Differential diagnosis and treatment of impaired bladder emptying. Reviews in Urol. 2004;6 Suppl 1:S24–31.
Mayo Clinic Staff. Mayo Clinc Web site. http://www.mayoclinic.org/healthy-lifestyle/nutrition-and-healthy-eating/in-depth/caffeine/art-20045678. Published April 14, 2014. Accessed September 3, 2015.
United States Food and Drug Administration. FDA Web site.http://www.fda.gov/downloads/AboutFDA/CentersOffices/OfficeofFoods/CFSAN/CFSANFOIAElectronicReadingRoom/UCM333191.pdf Published December 2012. Accessed September 5, 2015.
Townsend MK, Resnick NM, Grodstein F. Caffeine intake and risk of urinary incontinence progression among women. Obstet Gynaecol. 2012;119:950–7. Impact of caffeine on urinary incontinence progression over time in women previously diagnosed with urinary incontinence.
Kershen R, Mann-Glow T, Yared J, Stromberg I, Zvara P. Caffeine ingestion causes detrusor overactivity and afferent nerve excitation in mice. J Urol. 2012;188(5):1986–92. Highly controlled animal study that was able to demonstrate that caffeine directly impacting bladder nerve functioning.
Maserejian NN, Wager CG, Giovannucci EL, Curto TM, McVary KT, McKinlay JB. Intake of caffeinated, carbonated, or citrus beverage types and development of lower urinary tract symptoms in men and women. Am J Epidemiol. 2013;177(12):1399–410.
Kowalczyk JJ. State-of-the-art office evaluation and treatment options for symptoms of an overactive bladder. Osteopathic Family Physican. 2012;4(6):180–4.
Ernst M, Gonka J, Povcher O, Kim J. Diet modification for overactive bladder: an evidence-based review. Current Bladder Dysfunction Reports. 2015;10(1):25.
Longworth M-C, Fowler GE. Modern management of overactive bladder syndrome. Obstetrics, Gynaecol Reprod Med. 2013;23(9):259–62.
Hirayama F, Lee AH. Is caffeine intake associated with urinary incontinence in Japanese adults? J Preventative Med Public Health. 2012;45(3):204–8. Comparison between caffeine intake in individuals with incontinence and no incontinence.
Selo-Ojeme D, Pathak S, Aziz A, Odumosu M. Fluid and caffeine intake and urinary symptoms in the UK. Brief Commun. 2013;159:160. An overall higher dose of caffeine intake per day is associated with increased overactive bladder symptoms in women.
Wells MJ, Jamieson K, Markham TCW, Green SM, Fader MJ. The effect of caffeinated versus decaffeinated drinks on overactive bladder. J Wound Ostomy, Continence Nursing. 2014;41(4):371–838. Compared the impact of a controlled caffeinated treatment period versus a decaffeinated treatment period and found an increase in OAB symptoms for the caffeinates treatment period, but no increase in urge urinary incontinence.
Cho Y, Ko I, Kim S, Hwan L, Shin M, Kim C, et al. Caffeine enhances micturition through neuronal activation in micturition centers. Molecular Med Reports. 2014;10(6):2931–6. Highly controlled animal study that demonstrated caffeine administration to be directly impacting an increase of bladder smooth muscle contractions.
John’s Hopkins Medicine. Caffeine dependence. John’s Hopkins Medicine Web site. http://www.hopkinsmedicine.org/psychiatry/research/bpru/docs/caffeine_dependence_fact_sheet.pdf. Accessed October 31, 2015.
Oder, T. How coffee changed the world. Mother Nature Network. Published June 9, 2015. Retrieved October 31, 2015.
National Coffee Association of USA. What is coffee? Published 2015. Retrieved October 31, 2015.
Nehlig A, Daval JL, Debry G. Caffeine and the central nervous system: mechanisms of action, biochemical, metabolic and psychostimulant effects. Brain Res Rev. 1992;17(2):139–70.
Chawla, J. Neurological effects of caffeine. Medscape Web site. http://emedicine.medscape.com/article/1182710-overview. Updated August 12, 2013. Accessed October 12, 2015.
National Center for Biotechnology Information. PubChem Compund Database; CID = 2519. Website. http://pubchem.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/compound/2519. Accessed September 30, 2015.
Smith A. Effects of caffeine on human behavior. Food Chem Toxicol. 2002;40(9):1243–55.
Glade MJ. Caffeine—not just a stimulant. Nutrition. 2010;26(10):932–8.
Ninomiya, K. Livestrong Web site. http://www.livestrong.com/article/234607-the-effects-of-caffeine-on-the-bladder/. Published October 13, 2013. Accessed September 10, 2015.
Guy’s and St Thomas’ NHS Foundation Trust. Drinking fluids and how they affect your bladder. Guy’s and St Thomas’ NHS Foundation Trust Web site. http://www.guysandstthomas.nhs.uk/resources/patient-information/urology/continence/Drinking-fluids-and-how-they-affect-your-bladder.pdf. Published October, 2012. Accessed September 15, 2015.
Choi HK, Curhan G. Coffee, tea, and caffeine consumption and serum uric acid level: the third national health and nutrition examination survey. Arthritis Rheum. 2007;57(5):816–21.
Stewart W, Van Rooyen JV, Cundiff G, et al. Prevalence and burden of overactive bladder in the United States. World J Urol. 2003;20(6):327–36.
Swift CG, Tiplady B. The effects of age on the response to caffeine. Psychopharmacology. 1988;94(1):29–31.
Teleman PM, Lidfeldt J, Nerbrand C, et al. Overactive bladder: prevalence, risk factors and relation to stress incontinence in middle-aged women. BJOG. 2004;111(6):600–4.
Cardozo L, Lose G, McClish D, Versi E. A systematic review of the effects of estrogens for symptoms suggestive of overactive bladder. Acta Obstet Gynecol Scand. 2004;83(10):892–7.
Jackson RA, Vittinghodd E, Kanaya AM, et al. Urinary incontinence in elderly women: findings from the health, aging, and body composition study. Obstet Gynecol. 2004;104(2):301–7.
Zullo MA, Plotti F, Calcagno M, et al. Vaginal estrogen therapy and overactive bladder symptoms in postmenopausal patients after a tension-free vaginal tape procedure: a randomized clinical trial. Menopause. 2005;12(4):421–7.
Robinson D, Cardozo LD. The role of estrogens in female lower urinary tract dysfunction. Urology. 2003;62(4):45–51.
Robinson D, Cardozo L. Estrogens and the lower urinary tract. Neurourol Urodyn. 2011;30(5):754–7.
Schneider T, Marschall-Kehrel D, Hanisch JU, Michel MC. Do gender or lifestyle factors affect responses to antimuscarinic treatment in overactive bladder patients? Int J Clin Pract. 2010;64(9):1287–93.
Friedlander JI, Shorter B, Moldwin RM. Diet and its role in interstitial cystitis/bladder pain syndrome (IC/BPS) and comorbid conditions. BJU Int. 2012;109(11):1584–91.
Bassaly R, Downes K, Hart S. Dietary consumption triggers in interstitial cystitis/bladder pain syndrome patients. Female pelvic,Med Reconstr Surg. 2011;17(1):36–9.
Offiah I, McMahon SB, O’Reilly BA. Interstitial cystitis/bladder pain syndrome: diagnosis and management. IntUrogynecological Assoc. 2013;24(8):1243–56.
Conflict of Interest
Ms. Palma and Dr. Staack declare that they have no conflict of interest.
Human and Animal Rights and Informed Consent
This article does not contain any studies with human or animal subjects performed by any of the authors.
This article is part of the Topical Collection on Overactive Bladder
About this article
Cite this article
Palma, IA.F., Staack, A. Impact of Caffeine on Overactive Bladder Symptoms. Curr Bladder Dysfunct Rep 11, 1–7 (2016). https://doi.org/10.1007/s11884-016-0342-y
- Overactive bladder symptoms
- Caffeine dose