Ah, coffee. Whether you are getting your day started or dashing out after an exhausting class to refuel with a cup of coffee, it is hard to imagine a day without it. Actually, it is good for more than that.
Have you noticed that your morning cup of coffee wakes up not only your brain but also your bowels? 29% of people (and a whopping 63% of women) are in a full-on sprint to the bathroom within minutes after drinking a cup of coffee. Here comes a question: why drinking coffee makes some of us poop? Let us talk more about it.
What Does Coffee Do To Your Gut?
Coffee as a whole quickly stimulates the colonic motor activity within minutes of consuming it, based on the limited available research. Coffee sends a signal to your stomach to release gastrin, which is a hormone produced by the lining of your stomach. This kicks off a wave of contractions in your gut called peristalsis. 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. For some people, this leads to a trip to the bathroom in just a few minutes.
Why Coffee Makes You Poop?
Although science has not confirmed any solid answer yet, there are some theories on the coffee-poop connection.
1. Caffeine Can Activate Your Colon
A single brewed cup of coffee provides approximately 95 mg of caffeine. One study showed that caffeine relaxes the anal sphincter, which is the part of the body that keeps stool in or lets it out. This makes it easier to poop. Another study proved that caffeinated coffee helps your body push food quickly to the rectum, for it was 60% more effective than water at stimulating colonic motor activity and 23% more impactful than decaf.
2. Decaf Can Also Make You Poop
It was initially believed that caffeine was responsible for stimulating the urge to poop. However, studies suggest that decaf can also do the trick. Most coffee is very acidic, which can stimulate the production of stomach acid. Gastric acid helps digest food and might urge colonic activity.
3. Milk or Cream May Promote Bowel Movements
Coffee itself can make you poop, but the things you add to coffee can also be the culprit behind any sudden urges to poop. If you have lactose intolerance yet still enjoy dairy creamer with a side of coffee, the milk or creamer may trigger your urge to poop.
The Bottom Line
If you are not pooping as often as you would like, a cup of coffee may be the solution. But you will need more than that. Good bowel health requires a diet with plenty of fiber, regular exercise, and drinking enough fluids every day.