Why Does Coffee Make You Poop?

10 Jun, 2020

Why Does Coffee Make You Poop?, toilet made of coffee beans.

Like clockwork, usually within the hour of having your crucial morning cup of joe, you head straight to the toilet to release your morning bowl of poop. And why is that? Why does coffee make you poop? There are a number of factors that can cause us to poop after drinking coffee and the leading culprit… her name is caffeine. But let's break down all of the contributing factors to those coffee poops. 

Reasons Coffee Makes You Poop

Unfortunately, there's no solid answer as to why coffee makes you poop—but there are some theories on the coffee-poop connection. There are only a few studies out there to this burning question which is very hard to believe because I google it ALL the time. But what we do know allows us to narrow down the three main reasons: caffeine, dairy, and hormones. Let’s talk about shit. 

Caffeine

Apparently, there’s just something about caffeine that quickly stimulates receptors in your gastrointestinal system that causes your stomach and colon to contract. Those contractions, also known as peristalsis, naturally occur after you eat. When you add caffeine to the mix, the contractions begin to speed up. These contractions push your poop towards the rectum, which is the final section of your digestive tract… and then voila! Research has shown that caffeine makes the colon 60% more active than water and 23% more active than decaf coffee.

Dairy

Though caffeine is the most likely culprit, there’s another ingredient that you’re adding to your coffee that could be forcing your hand… or your cheeks to poop. Milk! Dairy contains lactose and when consumed by people with lactose intolerance it can lead to a LOAD of issues, including dropping a big load. When the enzymes that break lactose are on the weaker side, your gut bacteria end up digesting them, leading to gassiness and bloating. This then draws water into your colon and BOOM! Diarrhea. So if you’re lactose intolerant, milk, or half and half are most definitely what’s making you poop. 

Hormones

Coffee may also stimulate the release of a hormone called cholecystokinin from your intestines. Cholecystokinin can also stimulate bowel movements according to research. It is still unclear what component of coffee stimulates the release of this hormone. 

How Fast Does Coffee Make You Poop?

Now that we know why coffee could be making you lose your shit, literally, how fast does it work? Well, a  study found that 29% of participants felt the urge to take a dump within twenty minutes of drinking a cup of coffee!

Can Decaf Coffee Make You Poop?

Studies have found that decaf coffee (which some people drink for some reason, I guess) can have a laxative effect, too. Scientists have observed -- by way of some very invasive studies -- that coffee of any sort can stimulate the distal colon, which helps push waste out of the body more quickly.

Does Coffee Make Everyone Poop?

Researchers have yet to confirm the theory that coffee makes people poop. Some people may be more sensitive to coffee, while others may not feel any effects of coffee on their stomachs from coffee. While coffee may have a laxative effect in some people, whether it’s the coffee or the caffeine is unclear. Coffee’s effect is not solely due to caffeine since decaf coffee has shown the same or an even greater effect. In addition, most people don’t have to poop after drinking other caffeinated beverages, such as soda or energy drinks. Excessive consumption of any caffeinated drink may cause loose stools or diarrhea. And caffeine within coffee can act as a stimulant, which might induce bile production that promote bowel movements.

Is Coffee Good for Constipation?

Yes! ...and no. While coffee may have a laxative effect in some people, whether it's the coffee or the caffeine is unclear. Coffee's effect is not solely due to caffeine since decaf coffee has shown the same or an even greater effect. Using coffee as a laxative also has its dangers. The Mayo Clinic recommends drinking less than 400mg of caffeine a day. That’s about as much as four cups of coffee… that’s SO much coffee. If you go above this amount you will likely experience diarrhea and loose stool as well as heart palpitations and muscle tremors.  

Is It Possible to Not Poop After Drinking Coffee?

It is possible to regulate your poop after coffee. If it is attributed to the caffeine, then reduce your coffee intake. I know, I know, you need your coffee. But if your post-coffee poops are becoming a bit much, it is a compromise you’ll have to make. The same goes if you are lactose intolerant. Try using plant milk instead of dairy products to reduce the post-coffee runs.

Final Thoughts

Though many of our bodies respond differently to coffee, one thing is clear. Whether coffee gives you the run or makes you release the most perfect poops, you can count on TUSHY to wash it up for you.

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