Does Coffee Give You Constipation? (Answers Discussed)

A cup of coffee

Coffee drinkers love the effect that they experience after having the drink. The presence of the stimulant helps the body in improving physical performance, heightening the mental curriculum, and promoting weight loss.

Although there are certain side effects, coffee helps with amazing health benefits.

One of the most prominent side effects of coffee is that its laxative effect can induce diarrhea and cause stomach issues.

The interesting part is that even a smaller amount of coffee can create the sensation of addiction on the drinker and the overpowering effect may affect your colon and intestines in both the short and long run.

Many people have reported that coffee makes them constipated and can downside the laxative effect to some extent.

Short answer: Coffee doesn’t constipate you that much unless you’re keeping yourself dehydrated for a longer period and not eating balanced meals with fluids. The more intense effect of coffee is that of a laxative.

So, in this article, I will be reviewing how coffee affects bowel movements and the ways you can relieve the condition.

Let’s get started!

Is Coffee a Laxative?

A messy explosion of coffee

Coffee is a laxative and can give people the urge to poop.

The effects of coffee as a laxative differ among people. Coffee can increase the levels of gastrin hormone that makes the colon more active.

This study on the Effect of regular and decaffeinated coffee on serum gastrin levels shows that drinking coffee both caffeinated or decaffeinated tend to raise the gastrin levels by 2.3 and 1.7 times compared to plain water.

Along with stimulating the colon and intestines, coffee can also raise the level of cholecystokinin which is a digestive hormone. This hormone increases the movement of food through the colon and also causes gastrocolic reflex. As a result, the colon remains active and increases your daily bowel movement.

Does Coffee Make You Poop or Constipated?

The greater effect of coffee on the body is relieving constipation i.e. it induces the laxative effect and helps in clearing out the system.

The best way to get this effect is by having lots of water along with a cup of coffee. Remember, coffee alone can’t be great for your bowel movements if you aren’t following a proper diet with a fiber riched option and enough fluids.

According to the International Foundation for Functional Gastrointestinal Disorder, coffee consumption can lead to loose stools and diarrhea as caffeine is a stimulant. A significant dose of caffeine is required for this effect.

Such high doses of caffeine also dehydrate your body as the stimulant can inhibit better absorption of calcium and the diuretic effect flushes more fluid from the body. The lack of fluid conversely may make the stool harder to pass.

The net effect of laxative or constipation mainly depends on how fast the body is metabolizing the caffeine content and whether the body itself is getting adequate nutrients or not.

Watch out for this video to get a better understanding of how coffee makes you poop.

Why Does Coffee Make Me Constipated?

Coffee is most cases, makes you poop and gives the opposing effect to constipation.

However, don’t forget that caffeine is a stimulant.

The stimulant inhibits the absorption of calcium in your bloodstream and depletes the nutrients.

Thus, you get the feeling of urgency more after having coffee. The loss of water and fluids from your body tends to make the stool hard as it gets less of the content to absorb.

Myths and Facts About Constipation show that the dehydrating effect of caffeine makes you constipated.

You can either drink coffee in smaller quantities or choose a decaf one for regular consumption. Moreover, many people can’t tolerate creamers or sugary additives. Adding such products to the coffee may also worsen their constipation and cause bloating.

The overall effect will depend on the body type and it’s better to consult with a health care provider for suggestions regarding digestion complications and related concerns.

Does Coffee Affect Bowel Issues?

Coffee doesn’t directly affect your bowel movements. It can surely trigger the symptoms of heartburn or acid reflux but doesn’t cause bowel issues.

Since coffee does exert a laxative effect it can cause changes in certain bowel activities. There’s still inadequate evidence to claim whether caffeine is the main contributor to the condition or not. Some decaf coffee also has shown the same laxative effect on people.

The caffeine, however, induces bile production that increases bowel movements. Moreover, the addition of dairy products in your coffee also induces a laxative effect.

The International Foundation for Functional Gastrointestinal Disorder (IFFGD) states that adding sweeteners and lactose may lead to experience diarrhea and so adding significant amounts of additives can increase your urgency.

Hence, coffee alone isn’t the contributor to this factor. Sugar, lactose, and other additives all together make the laxative effect prominent and can cause changes in bowel movements.

For further elaboration, read this other article I wrote on how coffee affects our bowels.

How Long Does Coffee Take to Make You Poop?

Generally, it takes 10 to 45 minutes for a healthy individual to stimulate the colon and visit the washroom.

Well, that depends on how fast your body starts metabolizing the caffeine. If you are a fast metabolizer, then the caffeine will absorb in your bloodstream faster and show its laxative effect.

The acidity of the coffee is a key factor behind this effect. Coffee rich in acidic beans may make you poop faster. The chlorogenic acid in the drink trigger higher stomach acid levels faster than less acidic drink.

Also, for the habitual drinker, you may already know how long your coffee would take to meet your urgency. So when you want to feel light and ensure a routined bowel movement, stick to a particular timing for coffee consumption.

What Kind of Coffee Makes You Poop?

Coffee rich in acidic beans tends to make you poop more and faster. So in case, you’re trying to avoid the laxative effect, go for a darker roast of beans.

Darker beans contain less acid since many of their organic acids are burnt away in the longer roasting process having a higher temperature. This makes the acidic content in the dark roasted beans lower.

In case you want to skip the unusual bowel movements, try choosing a darker roast variety. This can also lessen your stomach issues while having the coffee.

Cold-brew is a wise choice since it’s way less acidic compared to the regular one as you don’t need to heat the beans for making the coffee. Great for your tummy!

Does Black Coffee Cause Constipation?

Black coffee next to a pencil
Black coffee is the simplest form of brewed coffee.

Generally coffee won’t cause constipation in healthy individuals. It induces a laxative effect to a certain extent and helps you in clearing your system.

Depending on the drink too much will necessarily exhibit dehydration of the body. This opposite effect leads to constipation.

Black coffee doesn’t have any additives and is the simplest brewed form of coffee with the best nutritional breakdown. Since the drink got no creamers or sugar, it may show a lower laxative effect compared to heavy and rich coffee varieties.

Well, there aren’t any concrete claims behind these assumptions but as reviews go, drinking too much coffee may trigger bowel issues by increasing extra acids in the body. The laxative effect created by the black coffee may get outweigh by the dehydration of the body when large doses are ingested.

This may cause constipation in certain people depending on the metabolism.

Do Tea and Energy Drinks Provide The Same Effect?

Both coffee and tea act as natural laxatives but when it comes down to energy drinks, they don’t show such effect.

All of these drinks contain caffeine but the reason that the energy drinks don’t increase the urgency or frequency is that caffeine isn’t the main contributor to this effect. Also, the energy drink lacks acidic components and can’t trigger gastrocolic reflux like coffee.

The following table will help you in better understanding the contrasting features of the drinks:

ContentCoffeeTeaEnergy Drinks
Caffeine 15- 95 mg per cup (on average)15-47 mg per cup (on average)100-250 mg per can (on average)
Calorie0-5 calories1-2 calories5-100 calories
Energy BoostInstant and StrongSlow and RelaxingInstant and Strong
Boosting EffectEnergeticCalmingEnergetic
Laxative EffectHighMinimalAbsent
A quick comparison between different caffeinated beverages.

You can see that caffeine is present in all of these drinks but the rest ingredients differ. This difference in nutritional breakdown exhibits varying effects of each drink on the body.

Is It Bad To Use Coffee As A Laxative?

Even if coffee can relieve you from constipation and help in getting it over after a drink or two, it isn’t a wise choice to use the drink as a laxative.

The degree to which one’s body reacts to the drink varies and hypersensitive people may experience more severe side effects from the drink.

The most experienced side effects of coffee come in form of caffeine overdose or withdrawal. These are:

  • Anxiety
  • Insomnia
  • Nausea
  • Irregular Heartbeat
  • Vomiting
  • Restlessness
  • Caffeine Allergy
  • GERD

Among these, people with irritable bowel syndrome are easily affected due to GERD and are more receptive to coffee intake. This exacerbates the ulcer, acid reflux, and heartburn in certain people.

The diuretic effect of coffee may also make you dehydrated. This can make your stool hard and give the opposing effect to laxative. Thus, using coffee as a laxative necessarily doesn’t reap better outcomes. The body tends to grow addiction towards the drink and caffeine addiction, as you may know, triggers unwanted side effects.

Should You Rely On Coffee To Stay Regular?

Drinking a moderate amount of coffee won’t hurt you but depending too much on the drink to stay regular isn’t appreciated.

Experts tend to suggest that adults above 18 can drink coffee for both better endurance and to stay regular. It’s a healthy way if you’re having coffee in moderate cups. But the concern here lies in the metabolism of different bodies.

Fast metabolizers clear the caffeine faster from their system compared to slow metabolizers. As a result, slow metabolism leads people to the risk of high blood pressure and heart attack.

Also, a healthy individual should have a normal digestive system and shouldn’t depend on a drink to release the bouts of constipation. Keeping the body dehydrated for a long period makes the stool hard to pass and this is why you need to aim for a larger volume of water intake.

fiber riched meals
Fiber riched food may help you in maintaining healthy bowel movements.

Lack of proper fiber in the meals, too many processed foods, sugar, and also inadequate quantity of food may lead to bowel issues. The best way to keep yourself regular is to maintain fiber-enriched meals on your regular diet and drink at least two liters of water a day.

Coffee won’t provide permanent relief to the condition if you aren’t adjusting your body to a healthier diet.

Should You Drink Coffee When You’re Having An Upset Stomach?

It’s better to stop consuming caffeinated beverages like coffee, tea, or soda with an upset stomach as these drinks can overstimulate the digestive system.

Coffee increases the production of stomach acid and this causes uneasiness for the person already dealing with stomach issues. Also, the acids in the coffee aren’t that crazy unless the drinker has a sensitivity to the acid content.

Further consumption of coffee may also cause dehydration and it’s just not good to dehydrate yourself during an upset stomach.

Even if the drink itself doesn’t harm you, having it either on an empty or upset stomach triggers extra acids and caffeine molecules to react adversely. The effects are more profound if you’re having the drink without taking anything before.

Final Thoughts

In short, coffee doesn’t give you constipation.

It helps you to clear your system by inducing the laxative effect. The effects may or may not be attributed to caffeine since decaf coffee also shows similar features.

The differences in body type, intake quantity, and metabolism are what make the effectiveness of coffee as a laxative or constipation different.

Some people are way prone to constipation. In such people, coffee and coffee additives may instantly cause digestive issues and bowel problems. However, some people tend to adjust their coffee intake well even after having an upset stomach.

For better suggestions, you may ask your doctor to suggest with a detailed insight regarding the changes you need to make in your diet.

Moderate intake of coffee rarely causes problems so enjoy your drink without worry. Also, make sure to drink lots of water to keep yourself hydrated and fresh.

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Matt Marshall

As I learn more and more about coffee and coffee products I want to share all my learnings with you here on this website. I hope you find my articles useful and entertaining to read.

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