Can Coffee Cause a Urinary Tract Infection?
Chances are, you are a coffee drinker.
You know how I know that? Around 83% of adults in the United States drink coffee. And together we all drink somewhere around 587 million cups every single day. That’s around 3 cups per person.
We all know that coffee can come will some real perks (pun intented) like heightened energy and focus. And we all know it can come with some downsides like the jitters and headaches.
But can coffee be harmful? Could that morning drink actually cause infections?
You may have heard the rumor that our beloved cup of Joe is responsible for causing urinary tract infections. Those painful, burning, uncomfortable infections that send us to the doctor begging for antibiotics!
Could coffee really be to blame? I’m here to clue you in.
So Can Coffee Cause a Urinary Tract Infection?
Short answer: no.
Coffee in and of itself is not going to cause a UTI. Why? It’s not bacterial, it’s not going to weaken your immune system. It’s just a drink. No study has ever shown that coffee will give you an infection in your urinary tract.
Sure, it may be responsible for that headache or your anxiety, but it won’t infect your bladder anytime soon.
Talk about a big relief!
But Does Coffee Affect UTIs At All?
Yes, actually, it can.
So this is where that rumor comes from.
Coffee is inflammatory in nature. So if you have an inflamed bladder, inflammatory foods are only going to make it worse. This means symptoms like the pain and burn can be aggravated.
Avoid coffee during your UTI healing process. And it’s not just the coffee. Anything with caffeine can irritate your bladder – this includes sodas and caffeinated teas.
If you are worried about caffeine withdrawls bringing headaches, take a few sips to help take the edge off in the morning and then leave the rest of the cup alone. Perhaps you could choose to do this with a green tea instead.
During this healing time, you also need to avoid other inflammatory drinks and foods like:
- Spicy food
- Citrus (vitamin C is really important for healing, so load up on Brussels sprouts, broccoli, and kale)
This also means that if you have chronic or recurrent bladder infecitons, you may want to lay off the coffee in general while you are in the process of healing your urinary tract. Not because the coffee will give you another infection, but because it can inflame the area that’s already been inflamed time and time again.
So What DOES Cause a Urinary Tract Infection?
If coffee isn’t causing those UTIs (thank goodness, right?)… then what is?
Bacteria causes urinary tract infections… normally it’s E. coli bacteria to be exact.
If drinking coffee is not going to introduce bacteria into your bladder, how does that bacteria enter your urinary tract? Lots of ways. Here are a few of the common causes of UTIs:
- Sex: This is one of the most common. UTIs are not contagious, so they’re not spread through sex that way. But the movement of sex can encourage any bacteria on your body or your partner’s body to enter the urethra because it’s so close to the vagina. An easy fix for this problem? Simply use the bathroom right after sex every single time you have sex. Your urine will flush out the bacteria that’s entered the urethra.
- Spermicide: Studies have found that spermicide and spermicide-coated condoms can increase UTIs, so make sure to use regular condoms or another from of birth control.
- Wiping back to front: I know it’s not pleasant to think about, but your own fecal matter has plenty of bacteria. If it gets into the opening of your urethra from wiping back to front, you can get a UTI. Just reverse the direction to prevent an infection!
- Kidney stones: When your urine stream is blocked from fully exiting the body, there is a potential for harmful bacteria to just sit there and infect. You should consider taking chanca piedra, an all-natural herbal kidney stone remedy, to prevent them from popping up in the future.
- Catheters: Even a sterile catheter can potentially introduce bacteria into your urinary tract. Talk to your doctor if you use a catheter and are prone to UTIs.
- Suppressed immune system: Any health condition that weakens your immune system can lead you to infections all over your body, including your urinarty tract.
- Diabetes: Studies show that diabetics are much more likely to develop UTIs than non-diabetics. Again, talk to your doctor about how to better manage your diabetes to lower your risk.
These are many of the real causes of a UTI. None of which have anything to do with coffee!
Your #1 Coffee Alternative When You Have a UTI: Hibiscus Tea
So if you are missing your coffee while healing up from a UTI, I have a great alternative for you: Hibiscus Tea.
No – this herbal tea won’t give you a caffiene boost. But it is a warm, soothing drink to sip on in the mornings or before bed.
And the hibiscus itself can actually help fight off UTIs. Studies have shown that hibiscus is effective at helping fight infections.
- A 2011 study looked at hibiscus and found that “it possesses antimicrobial activity and hold great promise as an antimicrobial agent.”
- A 2012 study looked at the extract of the hibiscus plant and came to the conclusion that: “The flower material can be taken as an alternative source of antibacterial agent against the human pathogens.”
Interestingly enough, both of these studies were seeing how the hibiscus works against the E. coli bacteria in particular. And the #1 bacteria causing UTIs? E. coli.
If you want to harness the power of the hibiscus at a stronger level than tea, you can simply take it extract form. My favorite way to do that is by taking Eu Natural’s Harmony Urinary Tract & Bladder Cleanse, which combines hibiscus extract with another important all-natural substance: D-mannose. This too has been shown to heal and prevent UTIs.
So Should You Stop Drinking Coffee for Urinary Health?
In most cases, you should not have to give up your beloved morning beverage for the sake of your urinary tract. If you are dealing with chronic UTIs, however, it may be something you have to do for a time. Talk to your doctor about what’s best for your situation.
And when you are in the midst of an infection, lay off the cup of Joe until you are feeling better. Then do proactive things like taking D-mannose and hibiscus. Always drink plenty of water.
And try to find the real culprit behind your UTI (that luckily isn’t coffee!), so you don’t have to have one again. Are you using spermicide-coated condoms? Is something blocking your urine from fully leaving the body? Do you need to start using the bathroom more consistently after sex?