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Research project: The effect of dietary caffeine restriction on overactive bladder symptoms in females - Dormant - Dormant

Currently Active: 

Over active bladder  is a common urinary problem which is characterised by very frequent and sudden desire to pass urine urgently which can result in incontinence if a toilet is not reached in time.


A recent European study of 16,776 adults found that 19% of adults in the 40+ age group had overactive bladder symptoms (Milsom et al, 2001). In some cases a cause can be identified but for many the cause is unknown and treatment is based on behavioural and lifestyle training designed to increase bladder capacity and control over time, sometimes with the aid of medication to reduce bladder muscle contractions (Burgio et al, 2000). A common component of dietary advice is to reduce intake of caffeinated drinks (usually tea and coffee), however there is no clear research evidence to support or refute this advice and indeed the physiological impact of caffeine on the bladder is unclear.

Main question(s)

Can restriction of caffeinated drinks (tea and coffee) help to reduce symptoms of urinary incontinence in people with symptoms of an 'overactive bladder'?


Research Design:

A randomised, double blind, cross over study of the intake of caffeinated versus decaffeinated fluids in women over 18 years with symptoms of OAB. Participants will continue to drink their usual quantities of tea and coffee but caffeinated drinks will be replaced with decaffeinated drinks in one arm of the cross-over. No other treatments for OAB will be offered until completion of the trial.

Outcome measures include:

  • Bladder diaries (urine frequency and volume charts)
  • Urinary Symptom and Quality of Life questionnaires (validated instruments for this population)
  • Analysis of regular saliva specimens will provide objective measures of caffeine intake.
    Main outcomes
  • Changes in symptoms of urinary frequency and / or urgency.
  • Changes in Quality of Life measures.

The main aim of the project is to provide clearer evidence on which to base the advice given by health care professionals, on caffeine intake for people with symptoms of overactive bladder.

Project team

Kathryn Getliffe 

Project funder

Burdett Trust for Nursing 2009

Related research groups

Active Living and Rehabilitation
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