Three out of 10 people find that drinking coffee prompts a rapid trip to the restroom. Coffee has more than a thousand distinct compounds. Research is underway to find out more about how coffee affects the body.
- Most individuals blame caffeine for bowel movements even though coffee produces an earlier urge to urinate. Additionally, decaffeinated coffee encourages bowel movements.
- It must be something in coffee overall, rather than just the caffeine, that causes a bowel movement.
There is no clear explanation for caffeinated and decaffeinated coffee to promote bowel movements. The laxative impact of coffee could be influenced by the general digestive properties of coffee, milk, and the time of drinking it.
If it works for you, using coffee as a laxative could be good, but regularly consuming more than 400 mg of caffeine per day may cause caffeine dependency. Caffeine can be present in tea, cola, and energy drinks as well.
How does coffee affect the digestive system?
The stomach lining produces a hormone called gastrin. A signal to release gastrin is sent by coffee to the stomach.
- This starts a process called peristalsis, which causes waves of intestinal contractions.
- The intestines are moved by peristalsis, as well as food and fluids. This prompts a trip to the restroom for some people within a short period.
- Both regular and decaffeinated coffee makes the stomach release gastrin. Decaffeinated coffee lessens the impact.
- The acids and caffeine in coffee impact other regions of the digestive system. Other components in coffee probably have undiscovered effects on digestion and bowel movements.
Why does coffee induce bowel movements?
According to some research, coffee may stimulate the intestine, gallbladder, and stomach. Although studies have attempted to support these effects, other studies suggest that coffee may not have any gastrointestinal side effects.
- Stimulates the gut: According to a 1998 study, caffeinated coffee, decaffeinated coffee, and 1000-kcal meal increased colon contractions more than water alone.
- Additionally, the researchers found that caffeinated coffee stimulated colonic motions 60 percent stronger than water and 23 percent stronger than decaffeinated coffee. A 1000-kcal dinner had the same impact as a cup of coffee with caffeine.
- After a meal, consuming coffee may promote faster stomach emptying. Food can migrate to the rectum and induce bowel motions after the stomach empties.
- Some people may experience an increase in stomach acid production and bowel movement after drinking caffeinated coffee.
- It was reported that coffee induced more forceful contractions in the rectum and anus.
- Hormones: Cholecystokinin is a hormone released from the intestines in response to coffee. According to research, cholecystokinin can promote bowel movements.
- Milk and cream: After childhood, over 65 percent of the world's population is unable to adequately digest lactose in milk and other dairy products. Lactose intolerance can cause diarrhea. Because milk contains lactose, those who add dairy items to their coffee may have to poop because of the lactose added to their drink.
- Increased irritable bowel syndrome (IBS) symptoms: Many with inflammatory bowel disease claim that particular foods trigger their symptoms, and some with the condition may have diarrhea after drinking coffee.
- According to a 2016 study, some people's IBS symptoms may get worse when they drink coffee. However, the characteristics of coffee that trigger these symptoms were unclear to the researchers.
- One study in 2015 looked at the impact of coffee on individuals with inflammatory bowel disease. Seventy-three percent of the participants drank coffee often. Among those who did not drink coffee, 62 percent said it aggravated their digestive issues. Even though some participants said that coffee made their symptoms worse, several still consumed it.
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Lohsiriwat S, Kongmuang P, Leelakusolvong S. Effects of caffeine on anorectal manometric findings. Dis Colon Rectum. 2008 Jun;51(6):928-31. https://pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/18350336/
Iriondo-DeHond A, Uranga JA, Del Castillo MD, Abalo R. Effects of Coffee and Its Components on the Gastrointestinal Tract and the Brain-Gut Axis. Nutrients. 2020 Dec 29;13(1):88. https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC7824117/
Acquaviva F, DeFrancesco A, Andriulli A, et al. Effect of regular and decaffeinated coffee on serum gastrin levels. J Clin Gastroenterol. 1986 Apr;8(2):150-3. https://pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/3745848/
Akimoto K, Inamori M, Iida H, et al. Does postprandial coffee intake enhance gastric emptying?: A crossover study using continuous real time 13C breath test (BreathID system). Hepatogastroenterology. 2009 May-Jun;56(91-92):918-20. https://pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/19621729/
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