Why Does Coffee Make Me Poop?

By Admin October 20, 2021

There’s nothing quite enjoyable than sipping on some coffee while running errands or sitting at home warming up for the day. Coffee is a great pick-me-up, caffeine-fueled beverage that starts more than just our day. For many, it also jump-starts the other end of their body! 

If your java drinking habit has you asking, “Why does coffee make you poop?”, read on. The answer isn’t quite so simple to understand, but we’ll do our best to explain. Like it or not, coffee poops are a thing! And, while it isn’t the hottest topic of discussion, you’ve got to admit that you are curious about the answer. 

Is Coffee a Laxative? 

Research has shown that coffee – caffeinated or decaffeinated – has a laxative effect. However, new studies show that java makes you run to the bathroom due to its role in digestive health. Because this issue only affects about 30-40% of the population, we can’t quite call it a laxative.

So, is coffee a laxative? Not quite! In that case, why does coffee make you poop? The answer could be anywhere from drinking too much or a preexisting bowel disorder. We’ll go into depth on these reasons next. 

The Culprits 

There are several reasons coffee is making you poop. Keep in mind that java doesn’t have everyone running to the bathroom. This means that not everyone’s reasoning for pooping after drinking coffee will be the same. If you’re part of that 30-40% of individuals, one of these may be the culprit:

1. The Acidity  

Perhaps one of the biggest reasons java has this effect on people is due to the acidity of coffee. It’s believed that coffee acidity helps stimulate bowels. If you’re drinking it on an empty stomach, there is the possibility the coffee is triggering your gastrocolic reflex – basically the hormonal signal that tells your colon to “clear out!”. This reaction makes you poop in order to make room for your stomach to digest more foods. 

2. Caffeine 

Does caffeine make you poop? Perhaps! 

Caffeine can activate the colon. In fact, studies show that caffeine makes the colon 60% more active than water. Because coffee offers a rich amount of caffeine, it can make your colon and intestinal muscles more active than normal. This helps your body push food quickly to the rectum (the final section of the digestive tract). 

Caffeine doesn’t affect everyone; therefore, this may or may not be the reason you’re rushing to the bathroom.  

3. Milk 

This may not come as a surprise to you, but over two-thirds of people who drink coffee mix in milk, sugar, cream, or other sweeteners into it. Milk and cream promote bowel movements since they contain lactose. Those who are lactose intolerant may experience stomach cramps, bloating, or diarrhea after ingesting dairy. This means that the lactose will trigger the urge to poop in those that are lactose intolerant. 

How to Prevent This From Happening 

There are a few things you could try to prevent your body from screaming “bathroom” after drinking a cup of joe. For instance, try dialing back on the amount you consume regularly. Limit your intake until you find an amount that doesn’t have you rushing to the bathroom.

If it’s an acid problem, lower the acidity of your morning cup. A great way to do this is drinking cold brew coffee. Now, if it’s a caffeine problem, try decaf brews. While it still has some caffeine in it, it’s not as much as your regular cup. If it’s a milk problem, the solution is simple: stop adding milk to your brew. Opt for almond milk, soy milk, or even some coconut oil!

The Takeaway | Why Does Coffee Make You Poop?

Reasons coffee is making you have to poop could be anywhere from the amount of java you are consuming, the acidity of the coffee, caffeine, or milk content. There are some ways to combat these effects like limiting coffee intake, drinking cold brew to reduce acidity, switching to decaf, or avoiding milk altogether.

Let us also mention that having to rush to the bathroom after drinking a cup of coffee isn’t necessarily a bad thing. It offers a way to maintain a regular pooping schedule. And, if you’re someone that struggles to use the bathroom regularly, a cup of joe may just be the solution!