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According to the American Congress of Obstetricians and Gynecologists (ACOG), urinary incontinence, or the leakage of urine, is a common condition among women. Women are twice as likely than men to develop urinary incontinence. Also, the risk of urinary incontinence increases with age.
In a recent study, published in the Journal of Urology, women with a high caffeine intake were more likely to develop urinary incontinence than those who drank less caffeinated drinks. Women who drank four or more cups of coffee or 10 cans of soda per day had a slightly increased risk of developing urinary incontinence over four years.
The study of more than 65,000 women revealed women with the highest intake were 19 percent more likely to develop weekly bladder control problems.
Also, women who consumed three cups of coffee or less had no increased risk of developing bladder issues.
In an email statement to Reuters Health, Dr. Mary Townsend of Harvard Medical School in Boston said, "We only observed an increased risk of urinary incontinence among women with the highest intakes of caffeine -- that is, women who consumed about four or more cups of coffee per day."
Also Townsend said, “It is too early to give women specific advice on caffeine intake. More studies are needed to confirm the current results.”
According to Townsend, caffeine is a diuretic and promotes the flushing of water from the body. "Also, there is evidence even low doses of caffeine can speed muscle contractions in the bladder," said Townsend. Anyone with an overactive bladder may be more susceptible to the effects of caffeine.
Medical experts also advise women who already have urinary incontinence to limit their caffeine intake.
The Harvard study suggests avoiding higher caffeine intake to reduce bladder control issues. Also, the study suggests for those women concerned about developing urinary incontinence to reduce their caffeine intake.
The study followed 65,176 female nurses between the ages 37-79 over a four year period. Women’s smoking habits, weight and age were additional variables factored into the research.