Don’t you love a nice hot cup of coffee in the morning? Most enjoy this morning ritual (about two-billion cups are had per day), but it can come with an annoying side effect: an unbearable urge to pee.
Whether it’s repeatedly sending you to the bathroom at work or home, coffee can stimulate the bladder in ways you may not appreciate.
This may not be much of an issue for you if you stick to one cup. But more than that, and it could take hold of your morning. Why?
Caffeine is the answer. It directly affects your brain (why you love it) and your central nervous system (why it can send you to the bathroom or give you the jitters).
Its influence on your bladder may be two-fold. First, caffeine is a natural diuretic. This means it increases your body’s excretion of urine. It happens because caffeine inhibits anti-diuretic hormone (ADH), essentially inhibiting kidney function.
This is not dangerous and will not lead to damage; it just means you’ll need to drink a little more water throughout the day to stay adequately hydrated.
Caffeine may also increase the urge to pee by having a direct effect on bladder muscles. At specific doses—and all of this is individualized—caffeine can stimulate involuntary bladder muscle contractions that send you to the bathroom in a hurry.
This is just a risk of caffeine that you have to live with. Of course, you can try to reduce caffeine intake to make urges less severe or more scarce. Here are some things you can try:
- Try cutting caffeinated coffee consumption by a ½ cup per day. This process is known as “caffeine fading.” If you need the caffeine in the morning and usually drink 2-3 cups of coffee, swap one or two for decaf options.
- Caffeine withdrawal is real, so phase in your fading over a one- or two-week period.
- Try lower caffeine-alternatives. For some, switching from a light or blonde roast to a dark roast may be enough.
If using caffeine to stay awake, examine your lifestyle. You could need more exercise and sleep.