Like it or not, coffee poops are a thing and even though it is not the hottest topic of conversation, we’re sure you are curious. Who doesn’t want to know why coffee makes you poop not too long after drinking it?
To satisfy our curiosity (and yours), we checked out a few studies and this is what we found.
So why does coffee make you poop?
There’s just something about coffee itself that quickly stimulates your gastrointestinal system, causing your stomach and colon to contract. Those contractions usually happen in your body after you eat in a process called peristalsis: wave-like muscle contractions that move food to different processing stations in the digestive tract.
With coffee, these contractions seem to happen much, much faster: as soon as four minutes after you drink it. There is no way the coffee has made it to your colon in that time.
Although coffee doesn’t have the same bowel-stimulating effect on everyone, research shows that coffee promotes the urge to poop in at least one-third of the population and tends to impact women more than men.
Below are some additional reasons why coffee makes you poop
Coffee Affects Gut Hormones
According to a 2022 study, coffee stimulates an increased production of several hormones like gastrin and cholecystokinin (CCK). These hormones are involved in a response called the gastrocolic reflex, which stimulates contractions in your gut and moves poop toward your rectum for removal.
This means that coffee may stimulate movement in your gut, which increases the urge to poop.
However, more research is needed to fully understand how compounds in coffee impact the digestive process.
You Add Dairy
People with lactose intolerance already know this but if you don’t, adding cow’s milk or cream to your coffee can impact your bowel movements. Dairy alone can cause bloating, diarrhoea, gas, nausea, and pain in the abdomen in people who are intolerant to lactose, a type of sugar found in milk. Now imagine adding it to coffee that induces gut movement on its own: fireworks.
Okay, but is there any way to stop pooping whenever you drink coffee?
If your morning coffee gives you the sudden urge to visit the restroom, there are some tricks you can try.
- For starters, if you’re not besties with dairy and it messes with your stomach, maybe skip the milk and creamers and go for a plant-based option. See if that eases things up a bit.
- Also, if you’re into using non-sugar sweeteners like Splenda and they’re causing some tummy troubles like diarrhoea, it might be worth giving alternatives like stevia a shot. Those sweeteners don’t seem to stir up any tummy issues.
- You can also try to find your limit by experimenting with the quantity of coffee you drink. Scale back until you find an amount that doesn’t make you have to make a beeline for the bathroom.
- Finally, if your coffee poops tend to happen at an inconvenient time, you can make adjustments. Try drinking your coffee earlier or later than usual to see if you can get the timing right.
So there you have it, the scoop on the coffee-poop connection. We must also add that while inconvenient, some people may benefit from the bowel-stimulating effects of their morning cup of coffee. However, if you find that needing to poop after you have coffee is interfering with your routine, you can try experimenting with the tips above to see if it makes a difference.