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Caffeine and Bladder Problems Linked

For Women, Excess Caffeine Increases Risk of Urinary Incontinence, Study Finds

Caffeine and Bladder Problems: Second View

The study findings are similar to those found by Lilly Arya, MD, an associate professor of obstetrics and gynecology at the University of Pennsylvania School of Medicine in Philadelphia, who published a study on caffeine and incontinence nearly a decade ago.

''What these studies are really finding [is that] high levels of caffeine are associated with urinary incontinence," she says.

Does it cause or aggravate the condition? "That's not known," says Arya, who reports doing consultant work for Pfizer, Astellas, and Duramed, makers of incontinence drugs or products.

Caffeine and Bladder Problems: Advice

The new study findings lend weight to advice many doctors already give, Arya says.

''For the woman with [bladder] problems, it should ideally be zero caffeine," she says. But she's realistic, knowing ''you have to be able to get through the day." So she tells these women, "Have a cup, one small cup, but make it as small as you can, definitely less than 8 ounces."

For women without bladder problems? "Up to two cups a day is generally fine. No bigger than 12 ounces, and the second cup should preferably be decaf."

"If you review all the caffeine literature, it seems like, in the U.S., up to two cups of coffee a day is considered moderate." What’s more difficult, she says, is defining a cup.

Years ago, she tells WebMD, researchers considered 5 ounces to be a ''standard" cup. "That's your grandma's china cup," she says.

These days, many researchers view an 8-ounce cup standard, she says. But coffee sold at outlets is often served in a much bigger cup.

At Starbucks, for instance, a short is 8 ounces but a tall is 12, a grande is 16, and a venti, 20 ounces.

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