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Coffee – Friend or Foe?

People have different tolerance for caffeine and not everyones bladder or bowel will respond to it in the same way.

An assessment with a women’s health physiotherapist often involves looking at lifestyle factors such as fluid intake. Fluid intake can affect your bladder and bowel habits, but more specifically the type of drinks you are drinking could be worsening your symptoms.  

So is Coffee a friend or a foe?

Well, the answer is not black or white (and I am not talking about how you take your coffee). It depends. People have different tolerance levels of caffeine, and some people’s bladder or bowel will respond to it, while others won’t.

Friend

People often say that they rely on their morning brew to get their bowel moving. Studies have shown that coffee can act as a stimulant that increases ‘colonic movement’ which is a wave of movement needed to propel our poo along the bowel to get to the rectum.

The urge to go to the toilet is normally felt once the poo reaches the rectum, so coffee can help give the bowel an extra kick to get things moving.

However, not everyone’s bowels respond in the same way. Next time you have a cup of coffee; pay attention to your bowel and see if you get a little ‘kick in the bum’ after drinking your favourite brew.

Foe

Urgency and frequency can be a bothersome symptoms for those who find themselves racing to the toilet (for a wee or a poo), never sure if they will make it in time. That is where caffeine can act as our foe.

Again, the answer is not black and white, because caffeine is a bladder irritant for some but not for others. For those that it does irritate the bladder, coffee (and caffeine) consumption can leave you needing to go more often and with more urgency.  

So for those loving the idea that coffee could give their bowels the extra kick they need, the tasty drink could be your new best friend to make a healthy bowel routine.

While for those coffee lovers that aren’t wanting to give it up but are worried about bladder symptoms; perhaps a visit to a women’s health physio is needed.

We use tools such as a bladder diary to discover what is driving your bladder frequency and urgency symptoms. Caffeine intake is just one of the things we look out for.

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