There’s nothing like enjoying a perfectly brewed cup of coffee, but sometimes sipping on the drink brings on the urge to poop. You’re probably wondering, why does coffee make me poop?
Caffeine is one of the most common reasons coffee can make you take an extra trip to the bathroom. Highly acidic coffee could also be the culprit. Additional factors could include conditions that cause coffee, sugar, or milk to upset your stomach, such as lactose intolerance or irritable bowel syndrome.
Let’s take a closer look at the reasons why coffee makes you poop or gives you diarrhea, and some tips on how to prevent it.
Why Does Coffee Make Me Poop?
Coffee and several components within the drink have the ability to stimulate bowel movements. Everyone is different and some people are more sensitive to certain ingredients in coffee.
Caffeine could affect some people more, while others may be affected by the acidity levels or other ingredients they add to their coffee.
According to Michigan Health, caffeine can promote gut motility. This means that caffeine stimulates muscle contractions, which causes food and drinks to move faster through the gastrointestinal tract.
A regular cup of coffee typically contains about 95 mg of caffeine. Some people’s digestive systems are more sensitive to the effects of caffeine. Therefore, caffeine could be the reason you have to poop every time you drink a cup.
Although caffeine does increase your ability to poop, decaf coffee can also have the same effect for different reasons. There are several other components in coffee that stimulate the digestive system.
Drinking caffeinated and decaf coffee can increase your cholecystokinin (CCK) and gastrin hormone levels. Both of these hormones play a major role in stimulating certain parts of your digestive system.
CCK helps with muscle contractions and gallbladder function, which ultimately regulates the way you pass food and drinks through your digestive system. One study showed that regular and decaf coffee increase colon motility.
The study also suggested that coffee affects the first steps within the digestive process more. This is why you may feel the urge to poop shortly after enjoying a cup of coffee.
Gastrin is a hormone that aids the colon in moving waste through your digestive system. Some individuals may be more affected by these hormones when drinking coffee than others.
Our stomachs are naturally very acidic, typically ranging from 1.5 to 3.5 on the pH scale. Chlorogenic acid is one of the main acid components found in coffee.
When we consume food or beverages high in acidity, it increases the amount of gastric acid present in the stomach. Gastric acid helps break down food in the stomach.
Lighter roasts tend to have higher levels of chlorogenic acid because they are not roasted as long. When coffee beans are roasted longer at higher temperatures, it removes some of that acid.
If you like to drink lighter roasts, you could be adding more acid to your stomach. This ultimately increases the urge to poop. Too much acid can also upset the stomach and cause diarrhea.
Why Does Coffee Give Me Diarrhea?
Some coffee drinkers look forward to their coffee poop routine. However, sometimes coffee can give you diarrhea or the runs because of certain ingredients or gastrointestinal conditions. So, why does coffee cause diarrhea?
Coffee can cause diarrhea for a number of reasons, some of which can be related to what you’re putting in your coffee drink. Some of these factors include:
- Adding too much cream, milk, or sugar
- Consuming too much caffeine
- Digestive system or gastrointestinal conditions
Cream, Milk, or Sugar
The high fat and lactose content in dairy milk, especially whole milk or heavy cream, can cause issues for individuals with sensitive stomachs.
If you’re running to the bathroom after consuming a coffee drink with a lot of milk or cream, dairy might be the issue.
Sugar can also play a role in giving you diarrhea if you consume too much of it. If you’re anything like me, you love to try all kinds of flavoring syrups to create deliciously sweet drinks.
No matter how much we may love to spruce up our coffee with sugar, it can trigger loose bowel movements.
We have an enzyme, called lactase, which helps us break down the lactose in dairy. Some people have very low levels of lactase, which prevent them from breaking down lactose properly. This is known as lactose intolerance. Symptoms of lactose intolerance can include:
- Stomach pain or discomfort
If you experience these symptoms after enjoying a cup of coffee that contains cream or milk, you might be lactose intolerant.
Another clear sign that your diarrhea is linked specifically to milk or cream is if you have these symptoms after drinking or eating anything with a lot of dairy.
Irritable Bowel Syndrome
Irritable bowel syndrome (IBS) is a common disorder that negatively affects the large intestine. Women are typically diagnosed with IBS more than men. Additionally, IBS tends to develop before the age of 45.
If you have IBS and consume coffee daily, you may find yourself asking: why does coffee give me the runs? Unfortunately, coffee can cause people with IBS to get diarrhea or the runs.
One study showed that individuals with IBS who consumed coffee on a daily basis were more likely to experience an increase in symptoms. The study also concluded that the amount of caffeine consumed in coffee correlated with different levels of severity of IBS symptoms.
How to Prevent Diarrhea Caused By Coffee
Since several components in coffee can give you diarrhea, you will first need to pinpoint the cause of the problem. Try these tips to help prevent diarrhea when drinking coffee.
- Drink decaf coffee
- Try low-acidic coffee (espresso, dark roasts, cold brew)
- Cut out or limit the use of cream, milk, or sugar
Another solution is to take a break from coffee to see if coffee is actually the problem. If diarrhea persists, it may be linked to another dietary issue.
Several ingredients in coffee are linked to affecting your bowel movements. If you get the urge to poop or have diarrhea after you consume coffee, it may be caused by:
- Too much caffeine
- High-acidic coffee
- Stimulation of digestive hormones
- Too much cream, milk, or sugar
If you’re looking for a way to produce a bowel movement, drinking coffee could help you! To prevent diarrhea, try out some different types of coffee or reduce your coffee intake.