It’s a common question for coffee lovers with benign prostatic hyperplasia (BPH) who experience excessive nighttime urination-Could caffeine be responsible for those nightly trips to the bathroom?
There is no question that caffeine (the active ingredient in coffee) stimulates an already overactive bladder of the sort that is common in men with prostatic obstruction and irritation, increasing urinary urgency and frequency and sometimes leading to urge incontinence.
Caffeine does this in two ways. It produces a diuresis (increase in speed of urine production). The faster you make urine and fill the bladder, the more you reduce its threshold for wanting to empty. Caffeine also enhances the sensation and contractility of the bladder itself, likely by the blood level of the caffeine rather than the amount that is in the bladder itself.
The problem is not limited to coffee. Caffeine belongs to a family of drugs, the theoxanthines, including theophylline (found in tea), also a notorious bladder irritant, and theobromine (found in chocolate). Tea contains about half as much caffeine per volume as coffee, but the theophylline is also a stimulant and bladder irritant. All of these drugs stimulate the nervous system (they wake you up), and they improve critical thinking and precision performance. Some soft drinks also contain caffeine as do some sleep prevention medicines, such as NoDoz, and energy drinks.
A good way to determine whether coffee (or another caffeine-containing substance) is the culprit is to reduce or discontinue your intake of it and observe the difference in voiding habits. Then, gradually reintroduce the beverage. Try mixing it with decaf to reduce the chemical effect without sacrificing flavor. If you’e a serious caffeine consumer, however, don’t stop it abruptly. A caffeine-withdrawal syndrome can develop, resulting in profound headaches and nausea that can last a few days