It is common for urologists to tell their male patients to avoid caffeine to prevent the problems that result from an enlarged prostate, such as inability to urinate, incomplete emptying of the bladder, dribbling at the end of urinating, incontinence, needing to get up in the night to urinate, a slowed or delayed start to urination, straining to urinate, a strong and sudden urge to urinate, or a weak urine stream. While avoiding caffeine may help with those symptoms, some studies also show that drinking coffee reduces a man’s chance of developing prostate cancer by 60 percent. But it is not the caffeine in coffee that helps to prevent prostate cancer; rather, it is coffee’s phytochemicals.
Avoiding Caffeine to Treat an Enlarged Prostate
- Do not eat or drink foods and beverages that are high in caffeine, such as coffee, tea, chocolate, energy drinks, energy powders or gums, and caffeinated sodas.
- If you drink large amounts of coffee every day, you may wish to quit by replacing a small portion of your coffee with decaffeinated or chicory coffee, increasing the amount of decaffeinated or chicory coffee every day until you are eventually drinking no caffeinated coffee.
- A similar method can be used to replace sodas or energy drinks.
- Replace one or two per day with water or another decaffeinated beverage until you are no longer consuming any caffeine.
- If you have difficulty giving up caffeine entirely, try avoiding it after dinner.
Why It Works
Caffeine tightens the neck of the bladder, making it more difficult to pass urine. Caffeine will also cause smooth muscle, such as the muscle that makes up the prostate, to constrict, which also makes passing urine more difficult.
An enlarged prostate is no reason for alarm -- all men eventually develop an enlarged prostate as they get older, although more than half never develop any symptoms. But it is still important to see your doctor to rule out concerns such as prostate cancer or a urinary tract infection. Call your doctor right away if you are producing less urine than usual, develop a fever or chills, have blood or pus in your urine, or have pain in your back, side, or abdomen.
Avoiding caffeine is entirely safe, but if you are used to having large amounts of caffeine every day, it would be wise to reduce your caffeine consumption slowly, a little every day. If you quit consuming caffeine “cold turkey,” you are likely to have strong headaches and feel very fatigued.