Why Does Coffee Make You Poop?

Picture this: It’s Monday morning at the office and you’ve got to start the day off right with a little caffeine, so you pour yourself a nice hot cup of coffee, settle in at your desk, and get to work. But soon your guts start to rumble, things start moving, and you gotta poop.


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The phenomenon is so well known that it’s even plastered on mugs. “Coffe makes me poop”.

Around three in ten people find themselves on their way to the bathroom after their morning cup of joe and a small study done in 1990 found that it wasn’t just that people felt the urge to go; within a few minutes of drinking coffee, people who needed to poop also had an increase in motor activity in their colons, so their guts were physically responding to the drink.

Which brings us to the question: “Why?”

Some scientists think that it might be not the coffee at all, it could just be that coffee is the first thing you put in your stomach in the morning and as your stomach stretches, it triggers the gastrocolic reflex. Basically, your guts wake up and start things moving.


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On the other hand, drinking a glass of water when you wake up doesn’t necessarily send you to the bathroom, so theres probably more to it than that.

Caffeine could be part of what’s causing the effect. Since caffeine is a stimulant, it could be stimulating some things at the other end, as well. Coffee is pretty acidic and acid in the stomach might be another part of the problem. Where there’s a lot of acid in your stomach, you produce more bile, which can, in turn, cause diarrhea.


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But that takes a while and the urge to use the restroom happens just a few minutes after drinking coffee. Research from the 1980s showed that drinking regular coffee and decaf coffee increases the release of a hormone called gastrin, which helps the stomach produce acid and encourages movement in the intestines.

But gastrin wasn’t released when the subjects drank hot water or a stimulated coffee beverage that contained caffenie and sugar.

So there is something about coffee specifically that leads to the production of this hormone, encouraging your guts to move things along a little faster than normal and interrupting morning meetings everywhere. We just don’t know what that is.

17 thoughts on “Why Does Coffee Make You Poop?

  1. I know what it is. It’s habituation. People are creatures of habit. It only takes a few times for one thing to become associated with something else and those things become wired together (look into your neurology – ‘what fires together wires together’. So basically, if you drink coffee and then poop just afterwards a couple of times – the coffee seems to act as a trigger in subsequent presentations. Different things happen as a trigger for me (and perhaps for you too) – conduct a poll and you will discover that it’s not always coffee.
    Good luck with asking the question “what do you do just before you feel the need to poop” to your friends. But it has to be done – it’s the scientific way. 😉
    Nice article – very thought provoking – well done.
    Kindness – Robert.

    Liked by 1 person

  2. Pingback: What Makes You Poo? | robertcday

  3. Nice post! 🙂 Personally, I’m a coffee snob but I don’t have it first thing in the morning as I as robertcday said, “people are creatures of habit” and I do think it’s more that than it having any actual “waking up” effect. Actually if you want an energising effect, try a glass of orange juice! Coffee might give you a false feeling of boost at first but it will make you feel tired again later on. I enjoy coffee for pleasure because I like the taste so I have it also in the afternoon and sometimes evening. I can say than even when I don’t have it “first thing in the morning” it does make me wanna poo sometimes so I don’t think it’s exactly that and more some component of the coffee to which some people are perhaps more sensitive…

    Liked by 1 person

    • I agree with you! I personally drink a glass of water every morning and that gives me enough energy for the morning! 😀
      Btw thank you for your comment, I find it interesting! 😀

      Like

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