Wait…What? Why Does Coffee Make You Poop?
We have all had that problem. We are drinking our morning coffee, enjoying a nice breakfast, when all of the sudden, an uncontrollable urge comes over us and forces a run to the bathroom for a little “forced evacuation”.
It has happened before and will continue to happen again and again. Due to this constant cycle, one must ask, why does coffee make you poop?
This question is a lot more complicated than it seems. Even though we have a firm grasp on the physical action, it is still unclear on what exactly causes coffee to make you poop.
Studies have provided some interesting information that can help us understand why our morning joe makes you poop.
Coffee Stimulates the Distal Colon
Coffee, when consumed stimulates the distal colon, which helps your body push waste more easily out of your system. As you are enjoying a cup of coffee, the muscles in your body relax including your colon, making it easy for the fecal matter to slide through the colon and move forward.
Coffee increases the natural acids found in the colon to move fecal matter easily through the system. These include gastrin and cholecystokinin. These two acids release other enzymes that help to regulate and maintain a proper flow of fecal matter. Coffee has been shown to increase the output of these acids, which increases the rate and ease at which you poop.
A Direct Correlation: Coffee & Poop
Over the years, there have been numerous studies that look at the direct connection between coffee and pooping. In one study, scientists found that around 30% of people surveyed, with 63% of that group being women, would say that they always defecate after drinking coffee.
Looking even deeper, scientists found that almost all test subjects saw a loosening of the stool and lower intestinal tract within 4 minutes of consuming coffee. The direct correlation has not gone unnoticed, but with so many variables, scientists still haven’t been able to produce a conclusive correlation/causation.
Caffeine Makes You Poop? Is This All Just A Myth?
One of the ongoing and more popular theories for the poop and coffee correlation was that caffeine acted as a stimulant to help relax your bowels and loosen your stool. Caffeine stimulates the central nervous system and increases blood flow, heart rate, and respiration. This stimulation and increase in oxygen and blood in your body help to relax your muscles including your bowels.
This widely held theory though is just a theory. If caffeine was the main culprit, why weren’t other caffeinated drinks generating the same results?
Upon further investigation, studies conducted with decaffeinated coffee showed comparable results with over 30% of cases showing a desire to poop within minutes of drinking the coffee. So, something in coffee is leading to bowel movements, but the diuretic properties of caffeine were very low and not the main cause.
Coffee Causes Hydration
Studies from as early as 2014 are showing that one of the reasons that coffee may cause pooping is that coffee keeps you hydrated. Unlike the common misconception that coffee removes water from your system, studies have shown that coffee maintains your fluid balance even with people who habitually consume 3-6 cups per day.
What this means is that your fecal matter will move smoother through your bowel system if you stay well hydrated. Dehydration causes your poop to dry up and get stuck but since coffee helps you keep water in your system, you shouldn’t have that problem of staying hydrated and pooping regularly.
Acidity & Your Bowel Movements
Another leading theory that scientists agree upon is that the loosening of the stool could be a result of the acidity in the coffee. Coffee has a compound called chlorogenic acid that increases the stomach acid levels, which in turn produces higher gastric acid. The increase in gastric acid could cause your bowels to feel more “urgent” in releasing the fecal matter.
Chlorogenic acid is found in all coffee beans and some plant matter. It is also found in fruits like prunes and could be the cause of prunes poop inducing properties. Studies have shown that this acid, once it hits the bowels, works to significantly improve the movement of fecal matter, even more so than other digestive acids in the system.
The Coffee Barrister's Verdict
There are multiple reasons for why coffee makes you poop. Coffee is highly acidic and helps to product chlorogenic acid, which in turns helps to stimulate and increase gastrin and cholecystokinin, two acids that regulate bowel movements, that will relax the muscles in your bowel and make you poop.
Studies suggest that almost 30% of all people are sensitive to this phenom and will usually feel the urge to poop within 4 minutes of drinking their morning cup of joe.
Although sometimes unwanted, coffee can help you keep a well-regulated bowel movement and help you feel much better.
Are you a person that poops easily after drinking coffee?
What are some other effects of coffee you would like for us to research, let us know in the comments below.