Since for a bit more than five years I've had to use a urinary catheter to pee, aside from the small amount I can release on my own, coffee has been a continuing concern for me.
For decades prior to having my bladder go on strike -- technical term, becoming atonic -- I was a coffee addict. I'd drink 4-5 cups a day, at just about any time.
After starting intermittent catheterization five times a day, and knowing that the caffeine in coffee stimulates the production of urine in many people, including me, at first I split the difference and tried drinking half-caf coffee: half caffeinated and half decaf.
But it didn't take long for me to realize that even half the amount of caffeine was irritating my bladder and seemingly making it more difficult to get a catheter to pass through the bladder opening. So I switched to decaf.
Better, yet I still experienced bladder irritation. I discovered that even decaf coffee has a decent amount of caffeine. HealthLine reports:
One study analyzed 16-ounce (473-ml) cups of drip-brewed decaf coffee from nine US chains or local coffee houses. All but one contained 8.6–13.9 mg caffeine, with an average of 9.4 mg per 16-ounce (473-ml) cup.
In comparison, an average 16-ounce (473-ml) cup of regular coffee packs approximately 188 mg of caffeine.
The researchers also purchased Starbucks decaffeinated espresso and brewed coffee and measured their caffeine content.
The decaf espresso contained 3–15.8 mg per shot, while the decaf coffee had 12–13.4 mg of caffeine per 16-ounce (473-ml) serving.
While the caffeine content is lower than that of regular coffee, it’s still present.
That led me to try some coffee substitutes. Cafix turned out to be my favorite. Reading the label when my first jar arrived from Amazon, I saw "Cafix crystals offer a rich robust taste yet none of the caffeine or acidity found in coffee or tea."
So I stuck with Cafix for quite a while. But a few days ago I'd forgotten about what I'd forgotten, and looked longingly at a jar of Republica Organic Decaf, coffee from Australia that I'd also gotten from Amazon, tried for a while, then set aside when I gave up decaf.
I noted that Republica is 99.7% caffeine free, which by my calculation translated into a negligible 1 mg or so of caffeine in a 16 ounce cup. I prefer the taste of Republica over Cafix, because Republica tastes like coffee, because that's what it is.
However, I've had more difficulty inserting a catheter the past few days, which reminded me that acidity is an issue for people with a bladder problem just as caffeine is. Thus reluctantly I'm going back to Cafix tomorrow.
As much as I like the taste of decaf coffee, it isn't worth it if the coffee interferes with my ability to do my urinary catheter thing. I'll continue to have a 16 ounce decaf latte every Sunday during my weekly get-together with an old friend.
That one shot of expresso, I assume it is, doesn't seem to cause me any problem, maybe because it's just a one-time drink each week, not a daily consumption of decaf coffee.
UPDATE: Well, duh, somehow I'd never thought that decaf low acid coffee exists, but naturally it does, as revealed by an Amazon search shortly after I published this post and the idea entered my mind. So soon I'll be getting some Lucy Jo's decaf low acid coffee. Will be interesting to try it.