Why Does Coffee Make Me Poop?

By : Lucy
May 19, 2021

For many people, coffee brings on more than just a caffeine buzz or its tasty flavor. There are a lot of studies on coffee showing that coffee has so many benefits. Despite being the most adoring drink by everyone, coffee offers you several advantages, especially health advantages. For more health benefits contributed by coffee, you can check and read the benefits of coffee in our article interesting coffee facts to brighten up your day.

Why Does Coffee Make Me Poop?

Relating to health and coffee, we might notice that every time we consume coffee, our stomach growls and we feel like we are in need to discharge or, simply put, to poop. This is just the common effect of coffee on our body, and it is interesting to know so that you do not have to worry about what is wrong with your stomach after coffee intake. At the moment we are going to take a look at some facts on why coffee makes us poop.

Caffeine can activate your colon

It is one of common knowledge to know that coffee is the most source of caffeine, and it is one of the important natural stimulants as well. In this case, a regular or standard cup of brewed coffee contains approximately 95mg of caffeine. For more coffee and caffeine facts, read more on coffee truth on how much caffeine in a cup of coffee. As we mentioned earlier, caffeine is a natural stimulant that helps us stay alert by generating chemicals in our neurological system. While caffeine is good for energy-boosting, it can also cause the urge to poop. 

Caffeine can activate your colon

Multiple studies explain that caffeine can activate contractions in our colon and intestinal muscles. In the colon, there are contractions that push the contents towards the rectum. This rectum in our body is the last section of our digestive tract. Thus, according to the research, caffeine makes the colon 60% more active than water to push these contents.

Because of its efficacy, drinking coffee can be an effective way to push down content to the final section. Therefore, when you start to consume coffee, it is likely that the caffeine content causes the colon to be more active and push the contents quickly. Thus, if you want to clear your bowels out in the morning, you can drink some water after waking up. Then immediately follow it with a cup of coffee. There are also several studies on the best time of the day to drink coffee as well. Which will be a good guide to seek a good drinking time in order to have the most benefits from coffee. 

Acidity in coffee

Coffee also contains acidity and other chemicals that can stimulate the muscles in our intestines. A study by the American Chemical Society shows that coffee causes our stomach to generate more gastric acid, which is a digestive compound that helps in breaking down proteins. This compound is called chlorogenic acid that can trigger stomach acid or gastric acid to a higher level. This combined process makes our stomach to dump the contents more quickly into the intestines, proceeding to speed up the entire digestive system. 

On top of that, there are methods to decrease acidity levels from coffee as well, so you can ease the process of its effect.

Acidity in coffee

Methods to decrease acidity

  1. Use low acid coffee beans: There are low-acid coffee beans on the market with quite increased popularity. These coffee beans sometimes are naturally produced to reduce their acid content. Meanwhile, others have some sort of compound added.
  2. Choose Arabica Beans: there are so many types of coffee beans. Arabica is the one with much less acid than their cousins of Robusta beans. Usually, Robusta is infused with lower-grade caffeine. The Arabica bean is a great option for lower acid content. 
  3. You should pay attention to altitude and terrain: tall coffee is likely to be more acidic. This factor can depend on a trustworthy supplier. The good coffee supplier will know about the land and the altitude where the beans have been grown. You can always ask, if they do not offer you the information. 
  4. Different regions of coffee contain different amounts of acidity: For example, Kenya grows more acidic coffee beans, meanwhile, coffees from Brazil and Sumatra have low acidity. 
  5. How the beans are roasted matters: the lighter roasts indicate the acidity; light roasts and medium roasts are famous because they are suitable for preparing single-origin beans with pouring methods. 
  6. Right preparation in subtracting coffee: you have to be careful with your grind size and its preparation time.
  7. Adding milk, yet this is optional for those who are lactose intolerant. 
  8. Try to use the cold brew method : with cold preparation, you can neutralize the acidity. It also gives a cup with a sweet taste.
  9. You can also neutralize with an acid reducer.
  10. Lastly, use eggshells: sound strange? Eggshells contain alkaline calcium that neutralizes the acids in the ground coffee beans.

Coffee stimulates hormones

As mentioned earlier, caffeine can push the contents to the last section of our digestive tract. Regarding several studies, the caffeine content in coffee generates hormones to make the food moves quicker through our intestine. In this case, it helps create the hormones called gastrin, which makes the colon more active. A study indicates that drinking regular or decaf coffee increases gastrin levels by 2.3 and 1.7 times compared to drinking normal water. 

Moreover, coffee may increase the level of the digestive hormone cholecystokinin or CCK. In addition, the hormone does not just increase the movement of food through the colon. It also causes gastrocolic reflex, which causes the colon to be more active. These reflexes go through the motions of imbibing liquids, which can put our body in the mood for some restroom-visiting action. Nonetheless, it is not as simple as ingesting other foods with these chemical compounds. 

So far, it is still uncertain what component exactly can increase levels of these hormones in our body. In spite of the efficacy of caffeine content, it is also significant to consider the amount of lactose and dairy products that have been put in for their consumption. 

Dairy effect: Milk or cream in coffee enhance bowel movements

Normally, coffee that is freshly brewed is naturally free of preservatives and additives. Usually, we stir in milk, sweeteners, cream, sugar, or other additives. Particularly, cream and milk contain lactose, therefore adding cream and milk may promote bowel movements. 

Otherwise, nearly 65% of people around the world cannot digest lactose properly. People with lactose intolerance do not make enough enzyme lactase. It is a type of enzyme our body makes to digest lactose. Lactose is a disaccharide consisting of two sugars such as glucose and galactose. The lactase enzyme the body makes is needed to break down lactose into glucose and galactose so it can be absorbed into the bloodstream and used for energy. People who are lactose intolerant may encounter symptoms such as bloating, stomachache, or diarrhea after dairy intake. Thus, lactose can somehow trigger the urge to poop in people, specifically those with lactose intolerance. 

Dairy effect: Milk or cream in coffee enhance bowel movements

For recommendation, if you find that you are lactose intolerant, it is important to cut down or choose lactose-free milk options such as soy milk, oat milk, coconut, and almond milk. These products can somehow help people who are lactose intolerant from encountering various symptoms caused by dairy. 

Decaf coffee can also make you poop

On top of that, studies explain that decaf coffee can also cause the urge to discharge or poop as well. Even though it is decaf, there is still caffeine content in it. For more detailed facts on decaf, it is recommended to read coffee truth about how much caffeine in decaf coffee. However, this shows that other compounds or factors are responsible as well. According to several studies, it is shown that chlorogenic acids and N-alkanoyl-5-hydroxytryptamine are the two compounds of interest. These two compounds have the capacity to stimulate the production of stomach acid. Therefore, stomach acid will help churn food and push it quickly through the gut. 

In addition, there are several other factors that may explain why decaf can urge you to poop or discharge as well. For instance, when we drink, it causes the colon to be more active. It is not about what we drink, rather it is about the act of drinking that causes the colon to be more active. This reaction of our body is called the gastrocolic reflex, which is the same reflex that activates the colon after we eat our meal. 

However, coffee is not a meal. Thus it may have a similar impact on the bowels, and it can induce bowel movement. Yet, the coffee-induced bowel movements can be coincident because the bowels can be twice as active when we first wake up, compared to while we are asleep. This is when they are primed and ready to go. This also associates with the circadian rhythm of our body, like an internal clock, it helps regulate many processes, including bowel movements. Despite that, the study is still observational. 

Is it true that coffee makes everybody poop?

Not everyone will experience the urge to visit the bathroom after a cup of coffee, but this can be considered common. Those with digestive conditions such as IBS and people with lactose intolerance can be prone to this. One study on this matter shows that 29% of participants experienced the urge to discharge within twenty minutes of drinking coffee.

Is it true that coffee makes everybody poop?

It also demonstrates that 53% of the women in the study experienced this urge. Therefore, women may be more prone to this symptom, especially those with digestive conditions like irritable bowel syndrome or IBS. Furthermore, this condition is more common in women than men. 

Coffee is not necessarily a diuretic

Diuretics can be called water pills, are medications designed to increase the amount of salt and water that leave our body as urine. There are natural diuretics that can be found in dietary supplements such as green and black tea, etc. Thus, is coffee also a diuretic in our case?

Stimulants generally increase urine production, as well as stimulants contained in coffee. If drinking coffee makes you need to visit the toilet and urinate more frequently and dehydrate you slightly, then it acts as a diuretic. However, dehydration might lead to constipation, which is the opposite of some coffee consumers experience. 

Nevertheless, coffee is not really a diuretic. According to the Journal of Human Nutrition and Dietetics in 2003 found that regular drinkers develop a tolerance to this effect, and do not urinate frequently, even if they have 2-3 cups of coffee intake per day. 

Is it a good choice to drink coffee as a laxative?

This is depending on the individual consumers; if it works for you, then it may be a healthy way to drink coffee as a laxative. Remember, the laxative effects happen in only a few proportions of the population, approximately 30 to 40 percent. Laxative or purgatives are substances that loosen stools, and it can increase bowel movement. These substances are used to treat or prevent constipation. There are plenty of types if you look for natural laxatives. Specifically, in our daily food such as berries, legumes, chia seeds, leafy greens, apples, olive oil, or aloe vera. One of them includes coffee.

Coffee raises the urge to use the bathroom: by stimulating the muscles in the colon which makes a natural laxative effect. However, according to some studies, the effect can diminish over time if you have habitual coffee consumption. This means the efficacy will decrease if you drink coffee regularly. So more coffee does not mean more visits to the restroom. It is suggested that consuming up to 400 mg of caffeine per day is safe without negative effects. This amount is equal to roughly four cups of coffee. Higher doses than that may lead to caffeine dependence whose symptoms including a strong desire to keep drinking it. This desire can be as strong as the desire to keep consuming drugs. 

Additionally, other beverages such as sodas, teas, and different types of energy drinks contain caffeine as well. Currently, there is no research or scientific studies proving that they contain a similar laxative effect to that of coffee. Thus, different types of coffee drink contain different amounts of caffeine as well, and it is varying by coffee making recipes as well. 

Conclusion

To sum up, coffee has a lot of natural stimulant. One of which, like caffeine, can stimulate the urge to discharge or the urge to poop. It is a normal phenomenon because it makes the contractions in our collins push the content more actively. Moreover, adding milk or other additives can also increase the effect as well. Especially, it will affect those who are more lactose intolerant. Lastly, if you notice that you visit the bathroom regularly after drinking coffee, it is best to cut down to a cup for the solution. 

References:

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