Like it or not, coffee poops are a thing. This is definitely not the hottest topic of conversation, but we’re sure you are curious. Who doesn’t want to know why coffee makes people have to poop not too long after drinking it.
Unfortunately, there’s no solid answer as to why coffee makes you poop. However, there are some theories on the coffee-poop connection. Although the mechanism isn’t completely known, we checked out a few studies and this is what we’ve found.
First: If you thought the caffeine factors into your pooping schedule, think again. Studies have found that both caffeinated and decaf coffee lead to the same bathroom sprint. Also, the warmth of the coffee isn’t a factor so whether it’s hot or cold, the experience is likely to be the same.
So then why does coffee always make you have to poop?
Apparently, there’s just something about coffee itself that quickly stimulates receptors in your gastrointestinal system, causing your stomach and colon to contract. We understand that this may not be as satisfying an answer as you would like.
Those contractions happen in your body normally after you eat—it’s called peristalsis, and it’s a process of wave-like muscle contractions that move food to different processing stations in the digestive tract.
With coffee, these contractions just seem to happen much, much faster. They seem to happen as soon as four minutes after you drink coffee and there’s no way the coffee itself made it to your colon in that time.
The bad news?
That means coffee can wreak havoc on your gut if you suffer from a condition that causes diarrhoea, like irritable bowel syndrome (IBS-D). But there is an upside: If you struggle with constipation, having a coffee habit can actually help.
Okay, but is there any way to stop pooping whenever you drink coffee?
Um, not really. Since eating food also stimulates your colon, it’s unlikely that drinking coffee with a meal will make a huge difference if any. The same seems to be true for diluting the coffee, like with milk.
But there is one thing you can do: If the whole pooping after coffee thing really bothers you, you can try to find your limit by scaling back on the coffee until you find an amount that doesn’t make you have to make a beeline for the bathroom. It really is down to the person.