Do you love your morning cup of coffee because the caffeine helps you fire up your brain and face the day? Many people depend on coffee as a part of their morning ritual and love the effects of caffeine on their mood and state.
If you are a coffee drinker, you might have noticed that coffee has other effects as well! For some, this means immediate bathroom time! This urgency might leave you wondering, “Why is it that coffee makes me poop?”
I have met many people with gastrointestinal issues that affected their lives. From constipation to IBS, individuals struggle with many challenges when it comes to digestion. In day to day conversation, we never address bowel movements or digestive health.
These issues are so important! It is time to get the facts straight. If you drink coffee daily, you should understand what it is doing within your system, and how it is affecting your digestive tract and bowel movements.
Why does coffee make you poop? Let's look at the science behind this question!
Your digestive system starts with your mouth, where food enters in, and includes everything that the food travels through before exiting out from your back side. This long journey includes your stomach, small intestines, large intestines, and colon.
When you swallow a sip of coffee, it goes straight down your throat and into your stomach within a few seconds. This is where some interesting things start to happen!
One study found that within four minutes of drinking coffee, participants had increased movement in the distal colon. The researchers stated that the ingredients and chemicals in coffee could not have reached the colon in this short amount of time.
Because of this finding, the researchers felt that the coffee was triggering a gastrocolic response that involved the brain and hormones.
As soon as you drink your coffee, it starts to change your hormone levels and brain activity! The researchers tested both caffeinated and decaf coffee, and both made the distal colon more active.
The act of drinking coffee creates a chain of biological responses that help people move their bowels, and this is a healthy thing. When you drink coffee, your stomach releases gastric acid secretion.
This gastric juice is a mix of enzymes and chemicals that your body uses to break down food molecules so that they can be used by your body or filtered through your system as waste.
Coffee has been shown to stimulate gastric acid secretion, which is a good thing! However, if your system experiences all of that acid with no food to digest, it might aggravate underlying heart burn. If you have eaten, it could help you digest your food.
If you are pondering the ways that coffee helps digestion, you should also consider the ways that it harms digestion. Coffee has an effect on the hormones in your digestive system, and alter the way that you absorb sugars.
At any given time, your body has a specific blood sugar level. This level helps your brain know when to eat or when to stop eating. Hormones play an active role in this because they tell your cells how much sugar to absorb, and thus affect blood sugar levels.
When coffee changes the way your body absorbs sugar, your natural appetite cycle is disrupted, which has a negative effect on your digestive system.
Think about a time when you drank coffee, and it made you lose your appetite. When you finally realized that you were hungry, hours later, did you overeat?
How did your digestive system handle the disruption? Did you feel uncomfortably full, bloated, or crampy? You experienced one example of a detrimental effect that coffee can have on the digestive system.
Even decaf coffee can stimulate the urge to defecate. Coffee has many active components, even though you might first think about caffeine. The other active agents include chlorogenic acid, magnesium, and potassium. Decaf coffee even contains a tiny dose of caffeine.
Though researchers are not exactly sure why it is so, they have found that even decaf coffee can make people feel that they have to poop. IT must be that the laxative effects are due to something other than caffeine!
Is coffee a laxative? Yes, coffee has been shown to help people have bowel movements! Drinking a cup of coffee could help you relieve constipation.
The fact that coffee stimulates a reaction in your gut and digestive tract has been so well documented that scientists have even tried using it as a method of helping people after abdominal surgery who suffer from gut peristalsis!
Coffee is a potent drink that causes many reactions in your body, and one of those is more movement in your digestive tract. However, this does not mean that it is a healthy drink or the only cure for constipation. There are many alternatives, like eating high fiber, water rich foods.
Coffee is only one option for staying regular, which creates a happy, healthy digestive tract. Physical exercise also helps to stimulate your gut, as does drinking other healthy drinks.
A great deal of the association between a cup of coffee and a bowl movement might be that the digestive tract is more active in the morning than in other parts of the day. It is waking up after being slowed down for the night.
The fact that you defecate regularly in the morning might not be because of your cup of coffee. However, researchers have found that for about 30% of the population coffee causes the urge to defecate even outside of those ‘just waking up' hours.
If the way that you feel after drinking coffee is causing your problems, and you are wondering “is coffee a laxative that my body can't handle?” you could try drinking your morning cup a few hours after waking up.
This delay would give your digestive tract time to do its morning thing, which includes unusually forceful movement of food through the channels. Wait to add coffee into the picture, until your system has settled down into a slower rhythm!
Coffee contains a thousand different substances. Scientists don't know exactly which substances in coffee cause people to feel that they have to poop, but they have noticed the pattern.
I hope that understanding the ways that coffee affects your digestive tract has helped you better understand your system and ways to manage it!