Coffee and Digestion – 7 Digestive Problems with Coffee

Digestive problems with coffeeAfter doing the research for this post, I gave up coffee. I’m done with it.

I took the last I had to work as an offering to the caffeine addicts there and replaced it with a caffeine-free, coffee tasting substitute I’ll share ahead. It was actually easier than I’d expected.

Giving up their daily caffeine fix is a scary thought for some people. Many of us are far more addicted to this legal drug than we’d like to admit to ourselves.

What I hope to offer with this post is some motivation and momentum to give up coffee. I’ll do this by covering the damaging effects it can have on your gastrointestinal tract and the way these effects lead to various health issues and digestion problems, including flatulence.

And for some good news, in following posts I’ll go into some of the best ways to beat a caffeine addiction by replacing coffee with healthier alternatives. Just making this one change in your drinking habits could make a dramatic difference to your health and sense of well being in your daily life.

OK, if you’ve made it this far without being scared off then let’s get started.

7 Negative Health Effects of Coffee

1. Increases Acidity 

Coffee contains various oils, acids and compounds like caffeine that can harm your stomach and intestines by irritating their linings. When you drink coffee your stomach produces large amounts of hydrochloric acid (HCl).

This overproduction of HCl is especially pronounced if you drink a cup of coffee on an empty stomach, making first thing in the morning probably the worst possible time to drink coffee.

The body can have a limited ability to make hydrochloric acid, particularly if we are nutritionally deficient or under stress. By drinking regular cups of coffee you are kicking HCl production into overdrive. Do this for long enough and your body’s capacity to produce hydrochloric acid may be reduced.

When there is a shortage of hydrochloric acid for digestion, we run into problems breaking down and utilizing protein in particular. This directly affects flatulence issues because undigested, fermenting protein is food for the intestinal bacteria that create, among other gases, hydrogen sulfide (rotten egg gas), for those really smelly farts.

2. Heartburn

Right at the start of digestion, coffee can cause heartburn (acid reflux) by relaxing the esophageal sphincter muscle. Caffeine is known to have an effect on this muscle but the problem occurs even with decaffeinated coffee.

Health Effects of CoffeeIn fact, apart from minimizing the jittery, fight or flight response from the caffeine, decaf does not seem to fare much better in the health stakes than regular coffee. It has most of the same irritating oils, acids and compounds, the same diuretic, laxative and mineral blocking effects and has actually been shown to be even more acid forming in the gastrointestinal tract than regular coffee.

Decaf may have a temporary role in giving up coffee for somebody looking to let go of their addiction, but it’s not a long-term solution if you value your health and energy. Besides, in the post on coffee replacements there is something far better.

3. Ulcers and IBS

Coffee is a well-known irritant for those suffering from IBS, gastritis, Crohn’s disease, colitis and ulcers and most doctors advise it be avoided for sufferers.

In fact, while ulcers are believed to originate from the Helicobacter pylori bacteria, coffee’s acidic effect on the stomach may help provide suitable conditions for the bacteria to access the stomach lining in the first place.

Coffee is often cited as an intestinal irritant for anyone suffering gastrointestinal problems. It seems it’s not the caffeine that is as much of a problem as certain enzymes in the coffee beans themselves. This is why switching to decaf for IBS or ulcer sufferers rarely works.

Coffee is acidic and can prevent the healing of an already damaged GI tract. Once again, regular or decaffeinated makes no difference in this regard.

4. Laxative Effects

Some people actually use coffee deliberately as a laxative and it can indeed stimulate the process of peristalsis that sends us to the bathroom. The problem is, coffee appears to stimulate gastric emptying of the stomach before food has a chance to properly digest.

The acidic stomach contents are dumped into the small intestine too early and may cause injury or inflammation to the very place that is supposed to be absorbing most of the nutrients to keep us alive and healthy. More undigested food also usually equals more flatulence problems.

The laxative effect of coffee is so strong in some people it has been observed only four minutes after drinking it. Decaffeinated coffee has been shown to have the same effect so researchers don’t think caffeine is solely responsible. Another mark against decaf coffee for stomach problems and gas unfortunately.

5. Diuretic Properties

The caffeine in coffee is a strong diuretic in the human body. In large doses it can increase fluid flushing through the kidneys which leads to a frequent need to pee, loss of minerals and other important nutrients and dehydration.

Dehydration may actually lead to weight gain in a roundabout way. When we are dehydrated the body has a strong need to replenish water but our brains often seem to mistake this signal for the feeling of being hungry. So we reach for a snack (often a salt laden one, making dehydration even worse) when what we really need is more water.

The next time you feel like you need a snack outside of normal meals, try a large glass of water first. There’s a fair chance you’re just dehydrated.

6. Affects Mineral Absorption

Drinking coffee may restrict our kidneys ability to retain magnesium, calcium, zinc and other important minerals. Iron absorption in the stomach can also be heavily impaired if coffee is taken at the same time as an iron rich meal. All of these minerals are required in the complex process of digestion at some point.

Reduction in the already hard to get magnesium is especially worrying digestion wise as it is needed to maintain bowel regularity. Many people are deficient in magnesium but unfortunately magnesium supplements are not particularly well absorbed.

If you are not getting enough from your food a better way to replenish magnesium in your body is magnesium oil that you spray directly onto your skin. Magnesium oil has been shown to have a much better absorption rate than standard magnesium supplements.

Magnesium plays an important role in regulating how our bodies convert food into energy and symptoms such as fatigue, low energy, muscle tension, headaches, anxiousness, irritability and inability to sleep have all been linked to magnesium deficiency.

If you suspect you might not be getting enough magnesium (or drinking coffee has inhibited its absorption), magnesium oil sprayed directly onto your skin after a shower can help replenish your body’s magnesium stores. I have personally noticed a real reduction in muscle tension and an improvement in my energy levels since using it.

7. Elevates Stress Levels and Interferes with GABA Metabolism

Coffee elevates the stress hormones cortisol, norepinephrine and epinephrine (adrenaline) that increase heart rate, blood pressure and activate the body’s ‘fight or flight’ response.

Hormones like adrenaline are supposed to trigger when we are in danger and need to respond quickly. They are not meant to be ‘on’ all the time in the way drinking coffee can make them. Is that jittery rush caffeine gives us really energy? Wouldn’t a better word for it be anxiety?

This increase in stress hormones can also inhibit the process of digestion, particularly in the stomach. This is due to the way the body takes blood and resources away from the digestive processes in preparation for a potential threat. A threat that never comes (though indigestion, bloating and flatulence problems may well).

Coffee and the caffeine in it also play havoc with the metabolism of gamma-aminobutyric acid (GABA). GABA is found in both the brain and the gastrointestinal tract. In the brain, GABA plays an important role in regulating mood and stress management. In the gastrointestinal tract, GABA provides a calming effect on the whole system.

Both of these functions are important for healthy digestion and indeed overall health and well being. Unfortunately, caffeine interferes with the way GABA binds to its receptors to provide that calming influence on both the brain and the GI tract (Ever tried slowing down and being very calm after a strong cup of java?).

As a final parting shot to your stress levels, coffee can also cause an increase in the excretion of B vitamins, which are central to relaxation and stress management.

Last Thoughts on Coffee and Digestion

I am well aware there are many people out there who won’t want to hear all of these bad things written about their good friend coffee. But is it worth asking ourselves, what kind of friend does this kind of damage to our digestion and our health in general?

Caffeine addiction is a very common problem in Western societies and digestive problems, heightened stress and anxiety and sleeping disorders are only a few of the health issues it can create.

Can you get away with a cup or two a day without obvious issues? Maybe. But then again, anyone reading a website on flatulence and gastrointestinal problems is probably aware that they have an issue or two, even if it’s not that obvious yet.

Wouldn’t it be better to address some of the causes of those issues before they become even more obvious and less easy to deal with? Besides, in the particular case of coffee, if you’re not addicted to it, then it can’t hurt to replace it with a healthier alternative for a couple of weeks and see how it makes you feel – can it?

Actually, giving up coffee doesn’t have to be that big a deal. Using replacement therapy, where you substitute coffee with something refreshing that gives a better type of energy, like peppermint or ginger tea, alongside these caffeine withdrawal remedies, can help you get through the first week. It’s usually pretty smooth sailing after that.

The next page has 3 steps to replacing coffee and a bunch of great alternatives (one even tastes like coffee but is alkaline rather than acidic and actually quite healthy). Following on from there is a detailed plan for coffee replacement with specific steps for minimizing withdrawal to help you give up coffee easily and permanently.

Photo 1: bradleypjohnson / Photo 2: Mr Thinktank / Photo 3: Banalitie/ Photo 4: jenny downing


Thank you to everyone who has shared their experiences on this page. Unfortunately the sheer number of them is slowing down its loading so I’ll continue the conversation at


This Coffee and Digestion article.. it does help me understand the symptoms that occurs to me when i drink coffee. Thank you.


Thanks for your comment Lah.

Joe B

Thanks for the insight! For about a year I was noticing continual gas and bloating, and (sorry to be gross) but when I went to the bathroom I couldn’t help but notice the food didn’t look digested. I wondered whether I was gluten intolerant or maybe lactose intolerant? I gave up coffee (and I really do like it) and the problem is solved. I drink Chinese black tea in the morning, and on a rare occasion, an espresso. But if I start drinking espresso several days in a row… Gas, bloating, it all comes right back.

Two years ago on a three week ski trip I was drinking lots of coffee. After my trip I wondered, “How can I burn of so much energy and still look so fat?? It was the Starbuck’s coffee!!


    Hi Joe,

    Glad you found what the problem was. I suspect many people who drink coffee regularly have similar digestion issues but aren’t able to consider it as a potential cause. We can be very protective of our addictions.

    One thing I’d suggest is to have a look at some of the other coffee alternatives on the page below. Glad you like the Chinese Tea but we can sometimes crave a bit of variety and if coffee is the only other alternative in the house it can be too easy to turn back to.

    I like a warm drink when writing but mix it up between peppermint tea, decaf green tea, Teeccino and ginger tea. The Teeccino is especially good for coffee cravings as it tastes similar, maybe even better, but is alkaline so won’t harm digestion.


Why do you say salty snacks make dehydration worse? Salt is critical in retaining water. My doctor told me I wasn’t getting enough salt. Was this based on something or just the commonly misunderstood notion that salt is dehydrating? People don’t spray saline up their nose or store their contact lenses in saline solution because it has a drying effect…



    Hi Tanya and thanks for your comment. Not getting enough salt is much rarer than getting too much, which is far more common.

    I agree we all need some salts but they should come from those that are naturally in our foods rather than excess sodium chloride on snack foods.

    This website provides a good explanation – “Excessive intakes of sodium chloride lead to an increase in extracellular fluid volume as water is pulled from cells to maintain normal sodium concentrations”. It also lists some of the serious health problems associated with too much salt in the diet.


    Eating too much salt make your extra cellular vascular plasma slightly (or more than slightly) hypernatremic. This causes fluid to leave the cells and join the vascular fluids, thereby dehydrating your cells. The added problem is that now you have more fluid in vascular spaces causing high blood pressure due to hypervolemia.


Well this article explains a lot! Im ready to give coffee the boot!
I have to wonder if all my interrupted sleep is due to the sipping. Gosh, all the times during the day that i feel so warn out and crave salt! I wonder why some have no issues w coffee while others do
I’m looking forward to seeing how much better I can feel.
Thanks for the info.


    Thanks Ev. It does sound like your adrenals have been affected. Initially you may feel a little worse getting over the addiction but longer term it’s definitely worth it.


How long after u quit do all the bad symptoms go away and u start to feel better?


    Personally, the next day wasn’t great but the day after I was improving and a few days later much better. I was a steady, if not heavy coffee drinker. This did coincide though with a general improvement in my eating habits which is likely to have helped as well. That said, I believe the ginseng tinctures mentioned on this page had a big part in why I found it so easy to give up the coffee –


I was plagued by intestinal cramps and diarrhea until I stopped drinking coffee. Now that I stopped for the last 20 years, I had not more cramps and diarrhea. I also had no problems with too much gastric acid (requiring me to take antacid). Additionally watch out for tea and garlic. They are the worst for gastric upset.


    Thanks for your comments. Coffee can definitely cause digestive problems like intestinal cramps and diarrhea for some people.

    All the best.


I recently started increasing my decaffeinated coffee and protein intake and my flatulence levels went crazy. Initially I suspected that it was the protein but I noticed even when I had a low protein day or two my flatulence levels still remained the same. Your wise words have given me the information I require to make a positive change to my diet and end the grief associated with high protein and coffee diet.



    Hi Dean and thanks for your comments. Most people wouldn’t associate coffee with flatulence and other digestive problems but as you’ve found giving up coffee can make a big difference. The next page is the start of a small series of posts on exactly how to give up coffee without suffering from withdrawal symptoms –

Kristen Lund

Oy vay, it is too simple, chronic health problems discovered to be due to digestion, digestive issues due to overdependence on coffee. I love knowing and I hate it!


Honestly, this sounds exactly like some of the problems that I think coffee have induced in me. I’ve been all over the place with doctors, and there are no significant (fortunately) intestinal issues.. but the excessive flatulence has really, really, really, bothered me, as well as the bloating and super frequent, unsatisfying bowel movements. Part of the problem is this.. I know I can get through the withdrawl no problem.. I’ve done it many times without a hitch. But how on earth are you supposed to keep your mind alert and energized, when you do such intense mental work? Unfortunately for my profession, drinking coffee is like oxygen.. long hours, and constant mental agility + alterness is necessary. When I give up coffee the tradeoff usually seems to be that I have NO energy.. I become lazy and tired, make potentially dangerous mistakes, because I don’t work a 9-5 where I can get into bed by 10 every day like some people and get enough sleep. I even exercise, but the tiredness I feel without coffee is often too difficult for me to deal with, so I give into this horrible drug that destroys my sensitive digestive system..

Sigh.. I am absolutely willing to accept some of the natural tiredness that may occur and try something new.. like Ginseng tea.. I’m not too hopeful though.


    Hi Dave and thanks for your comments.

    Actually new research is actually showing that it’s not so much that coffee makes you more alert, rather it just brings you back to normal when you’re suffering from brain fog, etc due to caffeine withdrawal. Here’s the study –

    It can take a short while to reset your system but once you do it’s likely that you’ll have more daily alertness with stimulating ginger or peppermint tea or some of these other coffee replacements –

    All the best.


I’m a faithful drinker of coffee for most of my life now. I never thought about all this stuff while drinking it. After reading it explains and makes sense to me now that I clearly am a coffee addict . As of today……. U read this just last night I didn’t even make coffee this morning. I’m on 7 hrs without the coffee…


I try to drink two cups of water with every cup of black, unsweetened coffee I drink. Regarding some of the concerns you had with H. Pyroli, Candida, or other malicious strains, I would presume drinking kefir (loaded with probiotics), along with high amount of fiber daily, would counter that effect. I never drink coffee before any task requiring use of my rational faculties/prefrontal cortex, because I know from personal experience that coffee disrupts my logic sometimes. Since I am young and impulsive, coffee helps me stay sane during excessive exercise and manual labor, although I was never dependent on it for other tasks, like waking up in the morning. I think coffee is like stress, you have to use it only for those activities that it is appropriate for (never daily in my opinion).


    Hi PL and thanks for your comments. It sounds like you have a balanced attitude towards coffee. I appreciate that and agree that two cups of water should mitigate the acidic effects and kefir and fiber should also reduce digestive problems with coffee.

    I do find interesting though recent research that suggests coffee doesn’t so much increase alertness for heavy users as simply relieve the brain fog associated with caffeine withdrawal –

    All the best.


In addition to the symptoms listed, I experienced a burning itchy ass. It would hurt so bad that it was hard to walk. It was extremely painful to wash it in the shower.

Even worse, was blood on the toilet paper, probably from hemorrhoids caused by inflammation.

Also constant diarrhea, constantly running to the bathroom.

How many relationships have been destroyed by coffee? It makes you angry, nervous, anxious, prone to explode, and do / say something that could ruin your life.

Not only that, but it yellows the teeth and may also cause ossification (arthritis) because it leaches calcium from the bones.

The caffeine in Tea is different and actually very healthy. However, drinking more cups of tea can have similar effects.

I like a nice mug of hot black tea with milk in the morning. It gives the caffeine fix without the problems of coffee.


    Hi there and thanks for your comments. I agree and it would be a long article indeed to list all of the potential health problems of coffee. I think the tension and anxiousness is particularly relevant though in today’s highly stressed working and even home environments.

    I find the occasional green tea much gentler than coffee’s jittery jolt but think once you get off caffeine you really do get more energy naturally.


    Thank you ohnomrbill, the burning itchy ass that is really painful in the shower is exactly why I have ended up reading this article. I suffer from exactly the same. Thanks for speaking so plainly – very helpful.


    A little old, but someone might find this useful…

    The burning/itchy problem is probably a rash and is most likely caused by a yeast overgrowth/infection.

    The sensitive areas of our body are usually the first to be affected. Scalp (dandruff), mouth (canker sores), and anus (painful rash). You can also get yeast infections on your skin elsewhere, which present like eczema, dry scaly, red patches.

    The most likely cause of this problem is Zinc deficiency, as you’ll note above, coffee can impair your ability to retain Zinc. As far as I can tell Zinc is essential in keeping yeast infection in check, as yeast is everywhere and you can’t really avoid contact with it.

    From experience, taking a Zinc supplement will help here, although eliminating the causes of reduced Zinc is a much better long term solution.


    Hi Brandon and thanks for your comments.

    Pumpkin seeds are another good source of zinc and I agree it’s an important nutrient for many health issues, including lowered immunity.


    I heard that adding milk to tea kills the good stuff in the tea.


Thank you for the insight. I was given my first coffee when I was child. And I experience these symptoms of increase of acidity is why I have problem putting on weightder. As well as I experience diuretics properties the real cause of my, oh this is embarrassing, bed wetting problems until I gotten over it when I started junior high school. Elevates stress levels and interferes with GABA metabolism accounts for my fears and nervousness from childhood into adulthood. Sadly I could only look back on those trouble years of experience with shame and regret. Again, thank for that wonderful insight.


    Hi PD,

    Thanks for your comments and sorry for the late reply (website access problems). You are right that the coffee in caffeine elevates stress hormones and prevents you relaxing. I think it’s quite terrible to give coffee to a child yet some parents are now giving energy drinks like monster and red bull to children as well and these are just as bad if not worse for all the extra sugar.

    It would be good to see more public awareness of the effects of the drug caffeine and certainly see it prohibited for sale to children.

    All the best.


This morning I had a Starbucks Pike Place roast, around 8:30AM.

At our daily meeting at 10:45, I ripped a foul smelling fart that lingered, had an egg smell to it. I have not eaten eggs for a while.

Then while running errands over lunch, I started ripping these horrid egg farts that burned my ass on the way out. The stench was thick, it didnt reach my nose for several seconds after expelling the gas, but it stuck around for a long time.

Then around 1:00PM, I unleashed a huge torrent of white hot liquid sh1t into the toilet, with the same charismatic odor.

Do you think it was the Starbucks? I cant imagine what I could have eaten recently that would have this effect on me.


    Hi Frank,

    Coffee can cause gastric emptying wherein food leaves the stomach too quickly and isn’t digested properly. Meat and sulfur containing vegetables can then create that ‘rotten egg gas’ smell. It’s quite possibly that the coffee was a trigger but ultimately this is likely due to larger digestion problems. It would be worth considering digestive enzymes with larger meals and perhaps avoiding difficult to digest meals for a while.

    Hope this helps.


Thank you so much for your article. It all makes sense to me. For two months i have been drinking only half a cup with coffee and milk and creamer was the other half. I have a very sensitive stomach, and get heartburn all the time. For a week now, i have been having horrible heartburn and acid reflex and i googled “drinking coffee on an empty stomach” and both heartburn and acid reflex showed up. So there wont be a coffee for me in the morning, which i look so much forward too..

Do you think it will be ok if i drink it once a week after i eat or it will still come back?

Thank you


    Hi Tamar. Thanks for your comments and question and sorry for the late reply (website problems).

    Drinking coffee occasionally after food may lessen symptoms but every time you do you’re starting up the conditions for caffeine addiction again. I’d suggest replacing coffee with teeccino which is quite similar in taste but alkaline rather than acidic – and following this 10 step plan I used for swapping out coffee without withdrawal symptoms –

    Hope this helps.

James Turner

You must also consider, however, that many medical sources cite coffee as being protective against development of colon cancers as well as some cardiovascular conditions – just give it a Google (just be sure it is a reputable site like Medscape….etc.)

If coffee gives you trouble certainly get rid of it…..if it doesn’t there may be more to think about than the potential GI issues that you do not have.



    Hi James,

    Thanks for your comments. I’m aware of studies like this, though on balance I still believe coffee can have a negative effect for some people. This article by Dr Hyman makes some interesting extra points on the problems with coffee (half a dozen medical sources cited at the end) and challenges any cardiovascular benefits –

    Some people seem to have no digestive problems with coffee and I’m sure an article like this won’t persuade them to give up their addiction. On the other hand, others may be experiencing digestion problems but are unaware that their coffee consumption could be contributing to them.

    All the best.


    My dad drank coffee on a daily basis but still ended up getting colon cancer.


Wow! I am so happy! Googling for natural remedies to cure flatulence I found this site and it has answered many of my worries I had noticed the laxative effect, but I thought of it to be positive for at least my intestines were empty. Then I have been having terrible flatulence problems where they even go by themselves without warning. (Lol) VERY embarrasing. I made an appointment with a specialist thinking maybe I have a terrible disease or something. The point is, I’m going to try the withdrawal immediately and try these recommendations. I hope you saved my life! I’ll keep you posted. Thanks!


    Hi there and thanks for your positive comments.

    This is the exact method I used when I gave up coffee and it worked really well for me – If you’re having digestive issues that could be linked to coffee is definitely worth trying a month without it and see what kind of difference it makes.

    All the best.


    I came across this by accident by searching for excessive gas causes. I make a pot of coffee daily and in the last month have many loose stools and really bad gas and bloating. I thought with all these bowel movements that I should be loosing weight but have actually gained. Going to try to do without coffee and see if this clears up. Thank you!


    Hi Peggy,

    It’s worth giving coffee a break for a while and seeing if your symptoms improve. This is the exact method I used to replace it with healthier alternatives while avoiding withdrawal symptoms

    Hope this helps,



Too much coffee plus stress in exam time made me sick, n developed into severe gastritis. The article says but the TRUTH!! Coffee shud be taken in limits, in milk, with something to eat. For ppl with sensitive stomach like me… GREEN TEA is the best! its soothing and healthy.


    Hi Misti and thanks for your comments.

    You’re right that caffeine on top of stress usually only makes things much worse, including health issues like gastritis. Green tea is much gentler but it’s still better to not ‘need’ any caffeinated products so you’re not held by the addiction.

    All the best


Thanx alot for this article. Its really helpful & informative. Some things i dint even know before about coffee and its ill effects. Especially drinking coffee empty stomach. Thanks once again.


    Hi Yash and thanks for your positive comments. Appreciate if you get a chance to spread the word by sharing it on social media.

    All the best.

Sameer Desai

I was addicted to coffee. Early morning, empty stomach I would have 2 strong mugs everyday. Through the day another 4 would be added. It gave me adrenalin pump which was needed for my creative thinking but today I have been diagnosed of IBS and I can’t even touch coffee. I tried breaking my diet and had coffee couple of times but it resulted in me having acid reflux and pain in the stomach. It also affects my bones as they start aching. Coffee drains calcium from your body I had read it somewhere.


    Hi Sameer,

    More and more people are finding coffee can have this effect. I’d suggest trying the Teeccino that I link to in the article if you miss it occasionally. It’s similar in taste but alkalizing so should help gastrointestinal problems. Believe sell it and deliver interenationally for $4. There’s also $5 off a first order with the code DIL799 so shipping is better than free.

    You’re right on coffee draining minerals like calcium from your body but magnesium is even more of a problem and could be behind the aches your feeling. This page has more details –

    All the best.


This is true. Coffee will make your stomach produce too much acid. gas too. I noticed a hudge difference in my gerd and ibs and will never drink coffee again. I ve been drinking coffee for over 20 years and finally pinpointed what was triggering my attacks. Took 5 solid days to notice the changes


    Hi there and thanks for your comments. I wonder how many other people are suffering with Gerd and IBS where coffee is at least part of the problem. Glad you managed to pinpoint the problem and I hope these digestive issues are resolving themselves well.

    All the best.


This article is great, had a Dr. visit yesterday because of Gerd, I had dizziness, upset stomach in the morning etc. he told me that coffee aid in my acid issue, this morning no coffee, but I have to go buy a healthier alternative, I’m not a tea person but for my health I will become one. Thanks again for this article and I will share it.


    Hi Michelle and thanks for your comments. It’s good to mix things up but I always have onhand some Teeccino from the first link in the article. The Java flavor is the closest taste to coffee I’ve found yet it has an alkaline rather than acidic effect on your body so should help to calm down digestive issues like this.

    Could also be worth looking into fennel seed tea as it’s very good for Gerd –

    Hope this helps.


FYI – Your link to doesn’t work.


Thanks very much for this article – very interesting and informative. I have just been reading your article to a friend of mine who is having indigestion problems and who drinks a lot of coffee.
I gave up coffee a month ago, but had sneaked back to having the occasional decaf – which I will now stop I think! I know from personal experience that living coffee and caffeine free feels better, but I’d like to be better informed. I wondered if you might send me some academic references for your piece, so that I can do some further reading? Particularly, I’d like to be able to put this kind of study in context:
Pro-coffee research seems to be popping up more and more. I’d be interested to know your thoughts.


    Hi Becky and thanks for your comments.

    You’re right there are studies potentially showing some benefits of caffeine and other compounds in coffee, though invariably there are potential negative side effects as shown on this page. For the caffeine I’d think the much gentler green tea would be a far better option if someone saw benefit in it. For the antioxidants in coffee, there are also a great deal of other foods that could serve this purpose just as well if not better.

    There are a several studies listed in this article and others on the site about coffee and this page lists other relevant research and compelling reasons to consider quitting coffee aside from the digestive issues

    Ultimately though, if you feel better since letting go of the addiction I’m sure your body knows what’s best.

    Hope this helps.


    Always check who funded the pro coffee research (or any pro this and that “research”). The FDA prohibits egg companies saying eggs are healthy or even safe, but they find ways to say other things. Beef industry the same way. accentuate the positive and ignore the negative. Always check the source of the info and who funded the supposed research. And if the researchers don’t show how overconsumption can harm, well. . . it’s probably a safe bet who funded it. ;)


Funny, I found this post looking for ways to increase hydrochloric acid in the stomach, to aid in digestion, and I already drink it! Yay! I guess a sip or two before and during meals would work nicely. And not drinking too much in the morning or at one time would pobably do me well also – I’ll just rein it a smidge. But the aid in digestion is key, which gets harder with age so, it’s good to know the coffee I love is already part of my program, and just needs some conscious adjustment in my timing of enjoying it. And overuse is probably why digestion for we Americans gets challenging as we age, cuz we overindulge and shut the mechanizm down. Neato! :) So nice I don’t have to throw the baby out with the bath water. And hey, if you’re going to cut it out completely, you might make sure to squirt a bunch of lemon on your mals and in your teas, to kick strt that mechanizm that got shut down with your unmanaged addiction.Cheers!


I read your article and agree with you and a lot of your comments make so much sense now. I suffer from H Pylori and have fever 24 hours a day. When I drink coffee the pain is like hell fire! Plus I get joint and shooting pains, when I don’t drink coffee the pain goes away. Coffee is a” bug”ger. I am so addicted to it but I will teach get myself to stop. I stopped smoking for 4 months now I am sure I can do this!


    Hi Susan and thanks for your comments. I’d ditch coffee until you get over your stomach problems. The teeccino in this post tastes similar but is alkalizing and shouldn’t give your stomach problems.

    I’ve also read that fresh cabbage juice (can be had with carrot etc) is particularly good for healing ulcers caused by H Pylori and clears up the problem more effectively than ulcer medication.

    Hope this helps.


I know coffee can have some bad affects, as you have pointed out (and my doctor has previously warned me re:GERD — the treatment of which seems to require the most boring diet you can imagine — sigh.) But I’ve been reluctant to stop coffee because I LIKE the laxative effect and for years had this affect with coffee but without any IBS or GERD. I’m willing to see if I would feel better without coffee but do any of your replacements have the laxative effect?
I think it’s the laxative affect that may be why coffee could help prevent colon cancer (according to some studies) — the toxins in the stool spend less time at the colonic mucosa so cells are spared cancer-causing damage.
Coffee might be something individuals just have to judge for themselves — not all good; not all bad. Some studies also indicate women who drink coffee daily (moderate consumption — something like 2 cups) are less likely to be depressed (but maybe one can get this affect with a coffee replacement that was not studied).
I was in biomedical research and know there are all sorts of things that have to be taken into account: like, was the coffee filtered or not? (Filters remove some coffee oils, which can effect your cholesterol levels, thus cardiac health, and I would guess some of these same oils are affecting stomach acid, etc.).
Anyway, thanks for sharing your research and experience.


    Hi Margot and thanks for your comments. I agree that there can be some antioxidant benefits in coffee, though I think there are plenty of better sources. The laxative effect helping reduce instances of colon cancer is quite possible. Though the Ayurvedic preparation triphala is gentler and far more effective. Ideally, better food should negate the need for laxatives in the first place.

    Some people enjoy coffee and don’t seem to have health problems with it. They probably won’t be interested in this article. There are issues though that I think journalists and doctors like to gloss over (both groups likely to be big drinkers of it) such as the high levels of pesticides, acidity and in particular digestive problems.

    The number of comments I’ve had here of people surprised that coffee could be the cause of their gastrointestinal upsets and the resulting relief when they take a break from it seems to suggest it’s not for everyone.

    All the best.


Like I said before, my was an avid coffee drinker and still ended up getting colon cancer. Do not rely on coffee to keep you from your check ups or assume that it help.
I loved coffee too, until it caused a whole slew of intestinal problems for me. I have stopped drinking it along with soda and tea. Think I may have an intolerance to caffeine. Finally feeling like myself again. I do miss my morning coffee :(


Meant to say my dad, above. ^


Found this all very interesting. Have been suffering with tummy trouble for about a year and at first never really put it down to coffee. Have had a few tests for other things and was told I have IBS. Symptoms were getting troublesome, you know constant trips to toilet etc which is highly embarrassing and annoying. Tried switching to decaff but didn’t seem to help at all and so decided to cut out coffee altogether to see what happened. I have not touched coffee for 2 weeks now and my tummy has been a lot better. Awaiting more tests through GP just to be sure but hopefully I have solved the problem. Also to mention I discovered herbal coffee which seems to be ok for me, as does tea.


    Hi Debbie,

    It sounds like the break has done your digestive system good. I’d try fennel tea, which is particularly good for IBS. Teeccino mentioned in the article is another option which tastes like coffee but is alkaline rather than acidic.

    Hope this helps.


Is this article about caffine or just coffee? If I have some sort of protein not being digested right, what can I do to nip the bad gas in the bud? Many teas have caffine…are they bad? Will they hurt my body’s ability to produce hydrochloride acid?


    Hi there,

    Caffeine can have negative effects but tea, and particularly green tea is much gentler and doesn’t seem to be as much of a problem. Additionally, coffee contains certain acids and other compounds beyond caffeine that can cause digestive problems.

    Switching to peppermint or fennel tea, both covered on this site, will usually help digestion rather than impede it.

    All the best.


I usually dont drink coffee but i did this morning and wondered if it has any bad effects on empty stomach. So glad I found this article! It’s really informative aaand, I’m never drinking coffee in the morning anymore. ;)


    Hi Jo-Anne,

    Some people are definitely sensitive to coffee on an empty stomach. Glad the article could help.

    All the best.

bob gibbs

Dear Sir,
I can understand what you are saying but if you are diabetic and laxitives like laxido and lactulose don’t seem to work very well, you are only to pleased to drink an expresso in the morning and get relief from constipation. So many drugs don’t seem to work very well for me, when you find something that does work you grab it with both hands. Coffee is number one for me!


    Hi Bob and thanks for your comments. There’s some health issues with using coffee as a laxative as detailed in this article. I’d consider looking up triphala which is much more effective and beneficial for the gastro-intestinal system.

    All the best.

Dr. Russell Brokstein

Great article. I have been telling patients for years about the negative effects of coffee. From dehydration, to the acidity problems and most of all the caffeine destroys the adrenal glands which throws off the balance of the 4 main important hormones of the body: adrenaline, norepenephrine, cortisol and DHEA. When these hormones are off balance it leads to heart conditions, digestive issues, immune problems, weight problems, diabetes, allergies, joint issues, PMS, menopause, libido problems.. just to name a few.


    Hi Dr. Russell and thanks for your helpful comments. The damage heavy coffee drinking does to the adrenals is an important yet I’d imagine often undiagnosed issue. Once your patients have managed to get off coffee I’d be interested in what you recommend to help rebuild the adrenal glands function.

    All the best.


Thats it!…no more coffee for me. I have been struggling with all these symptoms and enough is enough..
dandilion tea for me!


Thanks, James! I have been troubled by frequent headaches and visited and acupuncturist. He, among other things, recommended cutting down on caffeine. This planted a seed in my mind and a while later I stopped drinking coffee. I also cut back on green tea, which I drank around 4-5 big mugs a day. I had been also troubled by lots of belly gas and suspected being lactose or gluten intolerant. However, it turned out that eliminating coffee from my diet has cured this as well. I am waiting to see whether being frequently ill has also something to do with every day caffeine consumption. After more strenuous training or more stressful days I have been falling easily ill. Or maybe it has to do with something else. Time will show. I just ordered a book “Caffeine blues” from Amazon. I heard that if anyone has any doubts about quitting caffeine then after reading this book, they will certainly not have any doubts left. Weird that regular doctors never mention the bad effects of coffee and caffeine and that it is not widely know at all.


    Hi Kati and thanks for your comments.

    It sounds like cutting back on caffeine has helped with some of the health problems you mentioned. The frequent illness could be related to adrenal fatigue which high caffeine consumption can certainly exacerbate.

    I’d suggest replacing coffee for a few weeks with this plan I used: It has a similar tasting but healthy alkalizing replacement and I suspect a few weeks of caffeine free would really help with your health issues.

    All the best.


Hi James, I didn’t tent to come read your article but I did and now I am being anxious about drinking coffee. I rarely drink coffee like 3 times a week. Should I be worried still? Dose the things you mentioned happen with just one cup of coffee? Can we still have some chances to drink it not often?


    Hi Saenal,

    The digestive problems with coffee are more common with regular, several cups a day coffee drinkers. That said, if you are having gastrointestinal issues it could be good to give up coffee for 2 weeks and see if it relieves the problems.

    All the best.


I’ve suffered from many of the digestive problems covered in this article for a handful of years now and have searched high and low for answers. Tried cutting out various things (like milk), adding things like probiotics, have seen doctors – no solutions. I actually drink less coffee, and only half-caff, than I have in previous years. A few weeks ago my 18 year old daughter started having a cup of coffee in the morning before school. Just yesterday she said to me, hey Mom, you know how you’ve had tummy problems for a while now? Well, I just noticed that I do too since I started drinking a cup of coffee in the morning! And as many times as I’ve googled this topic looking for answers, it’s only because of what my daughter said that I found this article and information. Finally! Unfortunately I just had my morning cup of half-caff while reading this article, and yes, I already feel it starting. (I had gotten used to it, ya know? This is just what happens in the morning now that I’m in my 40s, or so I thought.) I’m optimistic again, though, that maybe I’ve finally found the solution I’ve been looking for for about 5 years now. (I didn’t drink much coffee before that, and it wasn’t a first-thing-in-the-morning habit, either.) And to think that I almost paid a GI doctor thousands of dollars to scope me up and down, when it could have been coffee all along! Thanks for the good info – I just wish I had found it sooner.


    Hi Tammy and thanks for your comments. I hope they can help others out there going through similar digestive problems.

    I think coffee drinking is just so common now that it doesn’t occur to many of us just how potentially damaging it can be. Scientists and doctors often seem reluctant to take a closer look at their own favorite drug as well and grasp and any questionably skewed research trying to praise it.

    When I gave up coffee I followed this plan with a similar tasting replacement that is alkaline rather than acidic and has help for caffeine withdrawal symptoms –

    Hope it helps and all the best in your healing.


I was diagnosed with Type 2 diabetes 10 years ago. I also had severe acid reflux (GERD), which was being medicated with a $60/month Nexium prescription.

Once I kicked both gluten and coffee out of my diet – within 24 hours the GERD was gone. Within 4 weeks my diabetic symptoms were also cleared.

I have stuck with this “diet” and never had issues with diabetes or acid reflux ever again.


    Hi Steve and thanks for your comments. That’s quite a dramatic turnaround and it goes to show how damaging those two compounds can be to many people’s digestive system.

    I’m glad ditching caffeine and gluten worked so well for you.


I went for nearly 20 years in pain with doctors telling me that there was not anything wrong or shrugging me off for smoking, drinking, or eating fast food. The last 2 years I decided that I would not let myself get discouraged and that I would be diligent with the doctors to the absolute every last thing asked of me. I quit smoking, drinking, and went on a low flour diet but nothing would help. The bloating, constipation (yes constipation), and huge build up of pain in my liver region from gas and the pain stuck in my shoulders from gas were all problems that I faced daily. I would have gallbladder attaches and killer heartburn. I quit taking my nexium and other drugs for heartburn too in an effort to find what was hurting me. The doctor took blood sample after blood sample and we took a food allergy test and none of this would help. The pain was always there and at time I believed that I would die before figuring it out and that I would die from something related to my digestive system. For what ever I never had figured that coffee could be my problem. This was one of my oldest vices and how could I ever consider it bad as its such a common thing. I quit drinking coffee in the January of 2014 and since then I started feel pretty good enough to even go back and give coffee another whirl. Guess what!?.. with in a week I would start feeling horrible again. So I quit it again and now feel really good again. If your digestion does not feel good, don’t drink coffee. I also do not have as much extra anxiety anymore. I was losing my mind with stress on top of it all. Not drinking coffee helps me to not give as many shits mentally and to give just enough physically.


    Hi Dan and thanks for sharing your experiences. I’m glad you’ve finally found the culprit behind all of these health problems. I suspect there’s many more people suffering similar symptoms and not aware that coffee cause be the cause. Hopefully the more articles like this are shared the more people can become aware of the potential issues with coffee and try a week off to see if their symptoms improve.

    All the best.


As I sit here at work in the men’s bathroom, doubled over in bloated agony, violently squirting liquid coffee-smelling diarrhea out of myself, I am regretting having that latte half an hour ago. Every day is the same story. Why do I do this to myself? God this hurts so much. If I don’t have coffee, this doesn’t happen. It’s like clockwork. Foamy, brown diarrhea hell clockwork. I start sweating, my stomach feels like a beach ball and diarrhea punctuated by fits of burning hot gas come spraying out of me so hard I am scared I will produce enough thrust to lift off the toilet seat in a fury of uncontrollable brown foam.
It burns, it burns, it burns… My abdominal muscles hurt from the amount of pushing and clenching and heaving. My sphincter feels red raw and I am afraid of the sheer power and violence of my own anus.


I have been struggling with stomach issues frequently the last year or so. I just attributed it to being (ugh) middle aged. I stumbled on this website while doing research on coffee sensitivity to write a blog post, having already honed-in on coffee (not caffeine) as the culprit. Matt, you made me literally LOL! What a day brightener to know that I am not alone in this issue. Thank you, James, for bringing frank discussion to a terribly embarrassing topic!!

And, BTW, ditching the coffee for tea has been a life-saving event…or at least marriage-saving! ;-)


    Thanks for your positive comments. I’m glad the word is getting out there more.


Insightful article. I have noticed almost immediate effects when drinking Starbucks Mocha Frappacinos and they are none too pleasant. The caffeine and the coffee certainly irritate the bowels and the lingering affects are not worth it.


    Thanks for your comments. With Starbucks coffee concoctions your body also has to deal with excessive amounts of sugar and even HFCS so I’m not surprised your digestive system doesn’t appreciate it.


Cold brewed coffee contains lower acidity and tastes much less bitter.

Maybe that would help with flatulence and acid re flux.


    Hi Steffan,

    That could be worth trying but I prefer the Teeccino in the article personally.

    All the best.


Thank you so much more this article. I think this may be the answer to my stomach problems. A year ago I had a bunch if test and blood work and everything came back normal. I try to eat healthy. I’m not perfect, but I watch. I don’t seem to loose weight and in fact I’ve gained. My family is thin and I have never had a weight problem. I get tired more lately in the afternoon and bloated out of the blue and gas pains. I am hoping if I stop drinking coffee I feel normal again.


    Hi Sarah,

    If coffee is elevating your cortisol levels as it does for many this could be behind the weight gain and the article explains the digestive issues. I’d suggest trying the plan to replace it with a similar tasting but alkalizing alternative here: for a few weeks and noticing the difference.

    Hope this helps.


Great article. I used to drink up to 10-15 cups of coffee a day and found that I needed to constantly consume the stuff just to function. I had difficulty getting out of bed, frequent sleep walking until I gave up cold turkey and tried Milicano decaf instead; hardly any difference in taste.

I recently started having a cup in the morning and noticed I was producing gas (sorry!), had a quick look on Google and found your article. I’ll be dropping that one coffee on the morning from now on.

Incidentally, after drinking the caffeine free coffee, I no longer feel lethargic throughout the day, usually rise for 0545 without too much persuasion from the wife and generally feel much better.

Have a great day !!


    Hi Stephen and thanks for your comments.

    I suspect many people would feel much better in the long run if they could shake loose their caffeine addiction. Unfortunately the general media seems even more pro-coffee in recent years (if that’s possible). I’d suggest anyone having similar problems try a couple of weeks caffeine free and see the difference it makes.

    All the best.


Thank you so much. I know now, some of my problems are related to excessive drinking of coffee.

Chad Milczarek

Hi there! Great article, but I have a question for you. When I was in high school, I had IBS D brought on by stress. Bothered me in the morning before school and sometime into class. I was aleays fine on the weekends. Forward to my senior year, I did cyber school because of the IBS and was fine. After high school, I started drinking coffee as a pre workout for the gym, but it gave me diarrea,. Since i worked 2nd shift, I just dealt with it as it passed before work. I figured when I quit my stomach would be better. I drank it a lot for over a year I’d say, but when I quit my stomach wasn’t better! Now two years later, I still have urgent bowel movements everyday, usually soft or diarrea, multiple times a day. Also, I think because of the coffee I developed food allergies. I can no longer have dairy, and greasy foods bother me. Do you think the coffee just killed all my good bacteria and enzymes? This is reallh getting hard to live with. Thanks for your time.


    Hi Chad,

    Usually after giving up the substance that is causing the issue the digestive system should improve.

    The intestinal environment can be built back up with good probiotics. I’d suggest taking those and trying 2 weeks of grain free meals made primarliy from healthy protein sources and mixed vegetables. Gluten is a common cause of this problem and the levels of it in grain based processed foods have increased significantly in recent years.

    I know grains are in a lot of products but if you can try two weeks of meals like eggs or avocado for breakfast and a healthy protein like salmon, organic chicken etc with mixed vegetables for lunch and dinner I’d be very surprised if it didn’t improve your digestive issues. You could then try reintroducing certain grain products to pinpoint the culprit and decide whether the effects are worth it.

    Hope this helps.


It is a eye opener, but I am not sure if coffee can be the constant rise of blood pressure I am experiencing lately.

Would love to know?


    Hi there,

    This study – concludes that “…on average, coffee drinking was associated with a 2.4 mm Hg higher systolic blood pressure and 1.2 mm Hg higher diastolic blood pressure”.

    I’d suggest trying 2 weeks without coffee and seeing if your blood pressure goes down. Here’s how I gave it up a while back with a similar tasting but healthier drink that wouldn’t affect your blood pressure –

    Hope this helps.


Thank you James for your great article, but even moreso answering so many responses. I now understand clearly why I feel like crap so often. I will take your advise! Gratefully Tim


I’d suggest people look at the Harvard Health newsletter here:
for more complete information on risks and benefits of coffee and caffeine.
While containing good information, I find the tone of this blog a bit a ‘scare;’ ‘you’d best not’
For all information on health it is important to look at several qualified sources and get a full range of data and opinion along the continuum of conservative and liberal (I am NOT speaking politically here but advice type).
It is important to learn how one’s body reacts to a given substance or item, one’s risk’s factors, and weigh the pros and cons of use of anything. Then make the best decision one judges for themselves. What works for me may not for you and visa versa.
The unfortunate part is that many things are not a simple either-or proposition. Coffee and caffeine use is one of them.
Thank You.


    Hi there,

    The article you link to selectively gathers possible benefits of coffee. It does not cover possible negative effects and does not address coffee’s potential effects on the digestive system – the specific topic of this article. There are links to specific supporting research within the article.

    I agree that is important to learn how one’s own body reacts to a substance but many of the over 100 commenters to this article had no idea that coffee could be behind their symptoms until they stopped drinking it and their symptoms were relieved.

    With the vast levels of coffee cheerleading in recent years I think there is still room for the occasional counterpoint view.

    All the best,



I did notice that after drinking coffee, I feel a slight pain in my stomach; although not always but it alarms me. In fact, I felt this slight pain now that’s why I’m searching about this online. I didn’t experience this with tea.

Adam Jones

Great article. I’m experimenting with grinding the coffee a lot coarser and then letting it steep in a thermal carafe for about 5-10 minutes. Then I pour it through a filter in a basic Mr. Coffee. I’ve found it helps to reduce or even eliminate a lot of the digestive problems it can cause. My theory is that the majority of the digestive problems arise from the physically abrasive characteristics of coffee made in the typical way. This method gives you the improved quality of a French press with out the grounds in the coffee. The coffee tastes better (smoother) too and the effects are more interesting. Of course, we’re probably ‘better off’ with out coffee but I’m finding that changing the brewing method substantially reduces the negative effects. I also recommend using a light to medium light roast. You want to preserve the oils in the bean. Dark roasting ‘leaches’ the oils out and also has less caffeine.


    Hi Adam and thanks for your comments.

    This may help for some people who only occasionally have symptoms. Some people though do seem to have gotten to a point where any coffee is affecting them negatively. Perhaps if they really can’t give up coffee this method would be good to try.

    All the best,



Thanks for your article. I enjoyed and hated reading it as I love love love coffee.
I really don’t like tea but as I’m a first time mum and sleep deprived, and love having a cuppa, is there something similar you can suggest
Thank you


    Hi Loren,

    There’s some interesting research showing that coffee doesn’t wake us up as much as we think and in fact is primarily just temporarily alleviating caffeine withdrawal symptoms Caffeine too late in the day is also known to interfere with sleep. Once you break the addiction your energy levels should come back to normal.

    This article has a similar tasting coffee alternative without these issues

    Hope this helps,



I have pretty bad IBS-C/IBS-A (It likes to decide itself LOL).

I noticed caffeinated coffee made my stomach so upset… But at the same time (sorry for the TMI) if I was constipated it was a laxative for me – so you’re definitely right there.

I tried switching to de-caff coffee to see if my symptoms would subside, and I was very upset to see that they didn’t… I love coffee… And I’m upset to realize I probably can’t continue to drink it due to these upsets. I gave up dairy, reluctantly at first, and feel SO much better now for it. I suppose I can do the same with coffee…

I love herbal teas. They’re my go-to drinks when I feel down, or ill. They just seem to make me right as rain. I can’t describe why. But if anyone else here is like me and suffers from decently bad IBS, try Chamomile tea, Pepperment tea, Jasmine/Oolong Tea, and any tea primarily composed of Ginger. All of them have their purposes, but Chamomile and Jasmine are my relaxer teas. If I’m having a horrible day, nothing takes the stress away like a good hot cup of Chamomile :)

It’s definitely nothing compared to coffee, however it makes you feel good. And that’s definitely something!!! ♥

Thanks for sharing!


Before I change my diet, I would like to be certain that this article has been written with sources to back it up. Though I will say the article seems to be very truthful.


    Hi Mick,

    There are half a dozen links within the article to scientific studies for further research and I’m sure you can read many more by looking into terms like coffee + esophageal sphincter, IBS, gastritis, GABA, kidneys, gastric emptying, etc.

    Hope this helps,



There are also long articles out there about the health benefits of coffee. Moderation, like everything else, is the key. I for one will be keeping my coffee in moderation, if not for my mental health alone :)


    Hi Dave,

    That’s true. There are many, probably 95%, but the studies seem fairly split – possibly beneficial for certain conditions (largely due to antioxidants) but as the links within the article show possibly negative for nervous and digestive system disorders. For many of the previous commenters with digestive problems from coffee I’d say get your antioxidants from other healthier sources and try drinking something else.

    All the best,



Hi I have been looking on the internet to see what causes trapped air in the tummy cause for the past couple weeks for me that has been a problem and believe me its very painful. I finally came across this website and the problems you list are problems I’ve been having. The anxiety I just linked to my mild Asperger’s its natural for me to be anxious but I see now that coffee is also causing it. Had also problems with gas and bloating. I always drink a cup of coffee first thing in the morning on an empty stomach which has lead to all the problems you listed here. I been drinking coffee since I was 13 and I’m now 27. I’m thinking of not drinking coffee anymore but the thought makes me nervous I think I may be addicted to it but I’m not sure. The reason I drink coffee in the morning is cause I’m very slow to wake and be alert. I usually wake up around 8 am and with coffee I’m alert by 11:00 am and without it takes even longer for me to be fully alert. I dunno why that is though when I go to sleep it takes a long time for me to fall asleep but when I am asleep I’m pretty much dead to the world I’m a very deep sleeper. My Mom jokes that I could sleep through a home invasion. Besides another reason I drink coffee in the morning is I’m a natural grouch in the morning and coffee peps me up. Is there anything you can suggest that will help me wake up faster in the morning and pep me up so I’m not such a grouch??


    Hi Jenny,

    There some interesting research showing that coffee is not so much waking you up in the morning as relieving caffeine withdrawal symptoms Once we break the addiction we naturally feel better in the morning. I find lemon juice in water first thing particularly energizing as well.

    This is how I gave up coffee with minimal withdrawal symptoms I also found it was making me anxious and that its edgy, nervous ‘energy’ was leaving me exhausted at the end of the day and simply wasn’t worth it.

    Hope this helps,



I used to be able to drink coffee without any discomfort (up to 3-4 cups, anyway), but check this out: I start feeling like I have an upset/hungry stomach before I even *drink* it. All I have to do is smell coffee, and suddenly I have to take a dump. What gives? Is a lot of this psychological, as I never had coffee indigestion before developing chronic anxiety 4 years ago, or is there something in the aroma of the beans alone that triggers a reaction? There are days when I drink coffee multiple times a day — on vacation, for example — with absolutely no ill effects. On an empty stomach, even. Set and setting?

-Confused Defiant Coffee Drinker


    Hi there,

    That is quite an extreme reaction. I wouldn’t know what is causing it but it seems really worth looking at alternatives, perhaps the similar tasting but non laxative teeccino mentioned in the article.

    All the best,



If someone wants to continue drinking coffee, there is a good hedge for it. While your article provides details that match up to some of the digestive problems I’ve been having, I’ve started taking unpasteurized unfiltered apple cider vinegar. It restores alkaline & the pH level in the body, and is a great asset to the digestive system. I do believe we are better off without coffee like you pointed out, but this way the negative effects of coffee can be minimized if just having 1 cup in a day. Thank you very much for the information in this article though, it helps alot. The bloating and the loss of nutrients certainly isn’t fun.


    Hi Patrick and thanks for your comments. I agree that apple cider vinegar before could help to minimize some of coffee’s acidic effects. Perhaps diluted ACV would be even better as a replacement for the morning java.

    All the best,


claudia thompson

Our Church, the Seventh Day Adventists, has a prophet named Ellen White who back as early as the late 1800s and early 1900s warned about the effects of Coffee. There was an investigation done and out of all the groups of people in the United States, those Seventh Day Adventists who adhere to the health counsels of this prophetess, Ellen White have the greatest longevity, and they are among the top three groups in the entire world. Everything she said regarding health has now been proven to be true. Back then, she was warning about the effects of tobacco, while many physicians were still prescribing it to their patients, for ‘better health’. She was way ahead of her time.


Tea and Coffee

“Tea acts as a stimulants and, to a certain extent, produces intoxication. The action of coffee and many other popular drinks is similar. The first effect is exhilarating. The nerves of the stomach are excited; these convey irritation to the brain, and this in turn is aroused to impart increased action to the heart and short-lived energy to the entire system. Fatigue is forgotten; the strength seems to be increased. The intellect is aroused, the imagination becomes more vivid.
Because of these results, many suppose that their tea or coffee is doing them great good. But this is a mistake. Tea and coffee do not nourish the system. Their effect is produced before there has been time for digestion and assimilation, and what seems to be strength is only nervous excitement. When the influence of the stimulant is gone, the unnatural force abates, and the result is a corresponding degree of languor and debility.
The continued use of these nerve irritants is followed by headache, wakefulness, palpitation of the heart, indigestion, trembling, and many other evils; for they wear away the life forces. Tired nerves need rest and quiet instead of stimulation and overwork. Nature needs time to recuperate her exhausted energies. When her forces are goaded on by the use of stimulants, more will be accomplished for a time; but, as the system becomes debilitated by their constant use, it gradually becomes more difficult to rouse the energies to the desired point. The demand for stimulants becomes more difficult to control, until the will is overborne and there seems to be no power to deny the unnatural craving. Stronger and still stronger stimulants are called for, until exhausted nature can no longer respond.”


“We thank the Lord that a victory was gained upon these points, even here in Basel; and we hope to carry our brethren and sisters up to a still higher standard to sign the pledge to abstain from Java coffee and the herb that comes from China. We see that there are some who need to take this step in reform. There are some who are nervous, and they should abstain from these nerve-weakening narcotics, that they may place themselves in right relation to the laws of life and health. These injurious stimulants are doing great harm to their nervous system. The machinery of nature is aroused to unwonted activity to be followed by reaction, and the coffee and tea must be used by them to keep up their strength and again urge up their powers. Unnatural activity is the result, and by this continual course of indulgence of appetite the natural vigor of the constitution becomes gradually and imperceptibly impaired. If we would preserve a healthy action of all the powers of the system, nature must not be forced to unnatural action. Nature will stand at her post of duty, and do her work wisely and efficiently, if the false props that have been brought in to take the place of nature are expelled.
Tea is a stimulant. It increases an excitement beyond its natural action, and the whole mental powers are unduly aroused, after which come corresponding languor and debility. There is a nervous trembling which is interpreted to be a need of more vigor. Or, again, the coffee or tea is resorted to for the purpose of recruiting the energies, and thus artificial strength instead of natural deceives the tea-drinker to think that the strength is derived from the charming cup of tea, when it is only the exhausted energies spurred up to unnatural action, wearing away imperceptibly the life forces. They have thus stimulated the brain nerves to unnatural labor.
Coffee is a hurtful indulgence. It temporarily excites the mind to unwonted action, and the effect is prostration, sadness, exhaustion of the mental, moral, and physical forces. The mind becomes enervated, and unless through determined effort the habit is overcome, the activity of the brain is greatly lessened. All these nerve irritants are wearing away the life forces, and the restlessness caused by shattered nerves, the impatience, the mental feebleness, becomes a warning element against spiritual progress. Then shall not those who advocate temperance and reform be awake in regard to these injurious things? And shall not this pledge paper embrace coffee and tea, as hurtful stimulants? In some cases it is as difficult to break up this tea and coffee habit as it is for the inebriate to discontinue the use of liquor. The money used for tea or coffee as a common drink is worse than wasted. It does the user, be it man or woman, harm and that continually. Shall Christians bring under the control of reason this appetite, or will they continue its practice because they feel so let down without it, like the drunkard without his stimulant?”


While everything stated its true, some of the things are based on the particular person. Coffee is has not been shown to affect colitis, since there is not direct link on that. some people do see changes when they drink coffee but there is not direct research that makes coffee a responsible for the colitis. i have been living with colitis for about 15 years and i have never experienced any problem with coffee. while there are many bad effects from coffee, it should be consider that coffee has many good properties in our body. research has shown that coffee can be good for those clients with liver disease. there are many articles about it and a lot of research as well. Coffee is a very complex substance that can many people may benefit from, or not. it is up to the person who drinks it, to their own metabolism. i am not an advocate for coffee but i don’t discard the good things that can come from it.


    Hi Cinthia and thanks for your comments.

    I agree coffee is a complex subject but feel most of the articles on it are overly favorable. The much lauded antioxidant effect can be achieved from many other better sources and there are many studies (several linked in this article) showing negative effects on both the nervous system and the digestive system. While everyone will obviously respond differently there’s been enough confirming comments from people to this rare article not praising coffee to warrant a closer look at it’s overall health benefits in my opinion.

    All the best,



    I am worried for both effects of nervous and digestive system for last 10 days due to my new habit of consuming more coffee in my new office.

    I was wandering to know the reasons, finally what ever mentioned here is match with me. I will stop having coffee in future.

    Thanks to James.


    Hi Bala,

    Caffeine in coffee increases cortisol which elevates anxiety and the article explains the digestive problems with coffee. If it helps there’s a plan to give it up here

    Hope this helps,



When I drink coffee. I have to use the washroom more and my stomach acts u . It is annoying .

Richard H

I have several of the problems you mention, so maybe I will just stop drinking coffee. Would taking caffeine tabs wake me up without the coffee-related digestive problems? BTW, what are your credentials? Thanks.


    Hi Richard,

    Caffeine can have issues of its own, particularly on the nervous and circulatory systems, but it seems the acids and other compounds in coffee itself are responsible for the majority of the digestive health problems with coffee.

    All the best,



and I finally got to the point where I had so and I finally got to the point where I had so much anxiety and problems with IBS that I decided to quit. After all the headaches went away and I got some of my energy back the first thing I noticed as I actually felt physically stronger and I also knows that my IBS or my liquid stools went away and everything became solid. I just can’t wait to see what happens on week three and four to see how much thing I just can’t wait to see what happens on week 3 & 4 to see how much things improve. I think coffee was robbing my body of what it needed.


    Hi John and thanks for your comments.

    That makes sense as in these situations you’re not absorbing minerals and other nutrients your body needs.

    I get a lot of messages from people defending coffee as ‘perfectly fine’ but just because one person can currently handle it without obvious symptoms doesn’t mean it isn’t damaging for another.

    Glad you found out what was causing your IBS and I’d expect your health will continue to improve from here.

    All the best,



Great article! I have a question… When I make coffee at work it does not affect me; at most, I will have two cups during a regular 8 hour shift. If I am staying late (18 hour day) I may have 3 or 4 cups total and I tend to spread them out. Nothing happens. My stomach is fine, I don’t get cramps, I don’t have to excuse myself, etc. But when I am home and I make one cup of coffee I am instantly sick, sometimes before I am even finished drinking it. Upset stomach, cramps, nausea, etc. Why is this?

I try not to keep coffee in my home, but because of this I started buying instant coffee. Is this the issue?!



    Hi Lena,

    It sounds like the coffee you have at home is higher in the acidic compounds that are causing you problems. Often caffeine isn’t the only culprit.

    When you’re ready to give it up this page has a replacement plan that minimizes withdrawal symptoms

    All the best,


julie bloor

Hi there,

thanks for your very interesting article. I came online looking for something to help with trapped wind and came across your article about coffee. Your article had me up most of the night reading all the different links and I thought, right I’ll be ready to give up coffee tomorrow (today).

Hope you don’t mind me giving you a bit of background information regarding my health because I’m going to ask for some advice.

I have always been a big coffee drinker for many years and up until yesterday I would start my day with some kind of coffee. However, I was diagnosed with ulcerative colitis (UC) during 2011. I then noticed that fresh coffee would trigger flare ups so attempted to reduce it and drink very weak instant coffee, although there was always consequences!

During 2012 i underwent an emergency to removal my large bowel (Colon) but I’m still left with my rectum. Coffee became even a bigger problem, but because of the insanity I tried all ways to have it. Thinking was it the caffeine, milk or sugar etc… So I drank it with soya with one shot, but still I suffered badly.

Up until today I was having a one shot, decaf cappuccino made with almond milk once a day first thing in the morning, so really not much compared to what I used to drink, but knowing when I had drank it I’d spend the next 30- 60 minutes or so in so much pain and because I have no colon it would shoot acidic output from my Stoma into my bag. I would tell myself or friends that I was with, that I need to stop doing this to myself, but the next morning I’ll be doing it again. How insane is that?

Just to mention that I have also many issues with transit time of foods from when eating to bag within 30 mins or as I am eating. Again causing me so much pain and other issues. I’m so under weight that the further surgery that I need has been on hold until I gain enough weight to reduce the risks, but it’s just not happening .

Could all this be the result of the one cup of coffee that I described? I’ve gone through so many investigations to try and identify what’s going on. Also because I’ve still got my rectum I have have active colitis still and it’s feels so inflamed and sore especially again when I drink coffee, although there’s nothing attached.

So this is was my first morning without coffee and I started the day with two glasses of warm boiled water. (Felt ok) then I had a cup of peppermint tea as you suggested, initially felt ok but then stomach started to gurgle and my somach started cramping. I tried to eat some dried toast but this has made it worse. My insides felt full of wind balls that I couldn’t seem to shift. Some wind was actually coming out of my Stoma and blowing my bag up and I had acidic frothy output. overall I felt pretty rubbish and I’ve sat miserably all day with a hot water bottle on my stomach to ease the pain. Oh I also had a couple of small amounts of bicarbonate of soda in warm water which helped release the wind by burping lots

I didn’t feel hungry more nauseous, but tonight I had some fresh ginger has you described in your article and it eased the pain and wind to the point I felt like I could eat something, but was scared incase it started the process off again. I knew I had to eat though or I would have felt worse so managed a small meal. Again but not as bad the symptoms returned so I had more fresh ginger and bicarbonate of soda, which has really help to the point I don’t feel as I’ve described earlier

Please can you offer any advice regarding these symptoms and will they settle down or is it because I haven’t got a colon, because I assume your article is based on people that still have there large bowel.

I would really appreciate any feedback please. Kind regards , Julie


    Hi Julie,

    I’m sorry to hear of your situation.

    It sounds like coffee’s acidic compounds are really giving you problems and I’m surprised your doctors didn’t tell you not to have it.

    Peppermint tea should generally help with intestinal problems but your situation is unusual so you may need to test a few of the regular remedies at a weaker strength and then when you find one that works slowly increase the dose.

    In order of effectiveness I’d say these would be fennel tea ginger tea and peppermint tea though I wouldn’t recommend the peppermint capsules for you.

    Overall I’d start with weak teas and build up if you don’t have a bad reaction.

    Bicarbonate is recommended for stomach acidity but you may want to try a period without it and take it away from other treatments and food as it’s quite reactive.

    Hope this helps,



Thanks so much for the great info! I’ve been suffering from bloating, gas and cramps for the past 7 years… which is exactly the same amount of time I have been drinking coffee. After seeing many doctors and explaining to them my diet (which included one cup of coffee daily), they referred me for lots of tests which all came back clear. They suggested I cut out diary, gluten, etc., but no one batted an eyelid at my daily coffee intake.

After going on an elimination diet and having no relief, I realised the only thing I haven’t tried to cut out yet is coffee… And after reading your article, it reinforced my suspicion that it might be the culprit!

I’m on Day 6 of no coffee, and am quite constipated which means I’m bloated as ever. Do you think I will feel better over time, as my gut gets used to moving without stimulation? Does it sometimes take a long time for people to get back to normal?


    Hi Natasha,

    This is a good point that your digestive system has probably gotten so used to coffee’s laxative effect that the normal bowel actions may take a little while to get back to normal.

    Triphala would be a much healthier alternative if you are experiencing constipation and many people on forums recommend it for bloating, gas and cramps as well

    Hope this helps,



    Natasha, I’m no know it all, or genius… I body build and read nutritional facts of everything I eat. Eat fiber, lots of fiber, oatmeal, almonds, kiwis, peanuts, those foods will help “push the poo out” in a good way and eliminate constipation.



Thanks for the great articles. I am reading your others regarding the benefits of teas like ginger and peppermint. I have been suffering from allergies to milk which I never realized until recently when someone told me to cut it out. Doctors for years tell me I am allergic to cat which is true but I don’t have one to cause me to react every single day. Its been diary all along.

On top of that I have begun overproducing mucus which has resulted in bad ear infections and ear surgery recently. Doctor mentioned it could be silent reflux resulting in too much mucus caused by caffeine. In recent months I have noticed gas and bloating while drinking coffee but I guess I was in denial that it was the coffee I drink nearly everyday. I don’t like the taste of tea. But I am going to try it for sure. Especially to reduce bloating. I work my butt off in the gym only to find bloating makes my belly pop out like a pregnant person.

Thank you thank you thank you! Will be reading all of your articles.

Best regards,



I used to drink a lot of coffee until I started having the intestinal cramps and diarrhea. At it’s worst, these would be accompanied by plummeting blood pressure, tunnel vision, cold chills, and rarely, bloody diarrhea. This usually happens within half an hour of consumption, sometimes in only a few minutes. Caffiene does not appear to be the cause as I drink quite a lot of black tea with no problems. However, I get these same symptoms from red chile, in any form, even as mild as paprika or common chili powder. I’ve often wondered if they share some chemical but haven’t ever been able to find a link. I still love coffee and will risk a cup a couple of times a year, and this is what I have learned: The coffee isn’t nearly as big a problem as the residue it leaves behind. Tea made from a coffeemaker smelling of coffee gives me the same symptoms, while a cup of coffee from a very clean source such as a high end coffee machine in a restaurant where the equipment is relentlessly spotless does not. I just wanted to share that as it might help someone.


    Hi Michele,

    I wish people who write in saying that coffee doesn’t ever cause problems could read messages like yours. It sounds like it’s really worth avoiding for you.

    I’m not aware of any common chemical between coffee and chili but they are both stimulants that can affect your adrenal glands so an issue with these may be worth investigating.

    All the best,



I was bummed when I read Teecino at the bottom as a replacement. It actually does taste like coffee but I was off caffeine for several weeks using only Teecino and my stomach pains still persisted until I took away the Teecino as well. I never have stomach pains if I don’t have caffeine so I really wanted the Teecino to be a solution.


    Hi there,

    That’s unusual as they share no ingredients or compounds that could cause this that I am aware of. The hot water is about the only similarity.

    Still, everyone is different so if you are experiencing this then hopefully some of the other alternatives here would work

    All the best,



Dear all, Greetings,
Since six months I was suffering with stomach ache, I did ultra sound xrays Dr given me antibiotics for one months dose, I took without fail, after completing one month on medicine there is no difference, then I visited ayurveda I Took another month medicine, no use, I was feeling horrible pain, visited Dr he gave me some tabs, when my wife Google luckily she came across your article and ask me to stop coffee, now I feel the reason of pain when I stopped coffees,
Surprisingly no Dr told me this simple things, where as I spent so much in test and medicine.
Thanks to all. Specially James.


    Thanks Sunny,

    Yes I’ve heard of many situations like this. Unfortunately most doctors rely on their coffee to work long shifts, as do the researchers publishing the positive studies about it. These days to say that people can have digestive problems with coffee is almost sacrilege but reading on heath forums and the many comments here it seems that it is affecting a fair percentage of people, whether they are aware of it or not.

    I’m glad you found that coffee was the source of your stomach pain. If you want a similar tasting but alkaline and healthy alternative have a read of this article

    All the best,



Perhaps I shouldn’t revive this thread.
Information is useful… very.
However, I’m not a regular coffee drinker (perhaps once every 2 or more days… or weeks/ months apart.)
I’m not addicted to caffeine or coffee… BUT I have noticed the intestinal problems (no heartburn) that happen half the times I have coffee (Not every time). Should I stop entirely and never touch it again or continue?
After all, there are some articles that say the occasional coffee is good for you… obviously too much is bad for you.


I found this information most helpful, and 100% accurate. Whether or not anyone believes this, I do. Thank you. I also like how everyone is advising switching to tea, great alternative.

William Jones

I am just curious. All the information given is awesome, but I am left wondering if there are differences between different coffee level intakes. Any info on that?


    Hi William and thanks for your comments.

    It seems to be completely dependant on the individual. Some in the comments here and other forums experience intestinal problems with coffee with even the occasional cup whereas others only have abdominal pain when they have larger amounts several times a day, it can even vary greatly from day to day. Organic coffee vs regular could help as well as pesticide residue may contribute to digestive issues.

    The best advice would be to be aware of the potential for problems and if you would like to see how you feel with a week or two break from coffee here’s a simple way to do it

    Hope this helps,



Great article! I’m probably going to quit, although perhaps every month or so I’ll have a cup, for that kick you get after not having it for so long.
So the withdrawal symptoms aren’t really that harsh, I’ve had them before. I wonder if I can instead remove 1/4 of a cup every couple of days and be done with it in a week with less noticeable withdrawal.


I have coeliac disease and stopped drinking coffee for years as I felt terrible; stomach cramps, needing the toilet often etc etc. But recently we have a new coffee machine and I started drinking it again, but only after a meal and only 1-3 cups per week. No problems. However, Tea makes me feel terrible for several days. Mind fog and lethargy mostly, and in the past it gave me a bad stomach, flatulence. I love coffee and have tried alternatives such as Dandelion coffee, but its just not the same. The complex tones and richness of coffee is a taste exploration. Everything in moderation I say, but everyone is different and to know yourself, to buy organic when possible and reduce most of the convenience and highly refined foods, then one should lead a healthy life.


    Hi Paul and thanks for your comments.

    I agree that everyone is different and many people obviously feel that they tolerate coffee, particularly in smaller amounts. Others though are experiencing negative consequences of drinking coffee but are perhaps unaware it’s the culprit.

    With all the cheerleading press coffee gets I felt a resource that highlighted how coffee can cause digestive problems was needed. Organic coffee does seem to help for many so possibly pesticides are another factor as coffee is known to be one of the most heavily sprayed crops.

    All the best,



i drink about one cup of coffee a day but I’m convinced it’s giving me bad stomach pain. Can drinking only that much coffee do that?


    Hi Kaidy,

    Yes it can unfortunately. I’d try taking a week off and keeping track of how your stomach pain is daily. Here’s how I did it without withdrawal symptoms and with a similar tasting alternative

    All the best,



I realize that this article is probably a few years old. However, I had given up coffee about a month ago and I didn’t have anymore bad symptoms. Yet today, I drank my first cup (and then half of another) and I feel horrible. I wanted the caffeine because my daughter had me up off and on last night. Yet after drinking the second half cup, I feel horrible. My stomach hurts and I had to go potty with cramps acting up. I finally get that coffee might not be the best for me. And this article made sense as to why. So thank you for the insight.


    Thanks for your positive comments. This article is still popular I think because so few other resources dare to say anything negative about coffee, particularly related to digestion, despite many people obviously suffering from it.

    All the best,



A chronic coffee drinker for 20 years, I’ve been taking Prilosec for chronic heartburn ( Barrett’s ) for the last 10 years, if I miss one dose my heartburn returns with a vengeance. Since stopping drinking coffee and switched to a max of 2 cups of berry flavored green tea a day my heart burn is almost completely gone. No Prilosec for 5 days now and feel great, along with a better mood and energy lasts more through out the day.


Hi there , I found your article very helpful and I’m done !! I’m done with coffee ,,, I love it but I love my health more ,, and the last four days have been hell and iv been putting of going to the doctor because after a few hours I feel fine again ,, but today has been the final straw ,, iv been putting it all together and coffee is the link ,, today iv been feeling ok till I had a protein shake that had coffee in it , and I’m now ten min after stomach is blown up like I’m six months pregnant , its really sore and a tightness of pain , plus I feel light headed no energy and can feel a slight ache coming in my head , I right now this min an drained and wanna cry !! Sorry that a big off load but as iv said I’m done with coffee , I suffer with a form of ibs and a gluten sensitivity and never triggered coffee to be a problem ,, I think you hit the nail on the head !!! ,, I hope anyone else that reads this might find the symptoms of help , cause iv been googling like mad , but this make sence


    Hi Suzanne,

    When you’re suffering this much with something it’s just not worth it. Hopefully giving your digestive system a good break can help it to heal. There’s a similar tasting yet alkaline alternative in this article

    Hope this helps,


Debra Zwilling

I drink one cup of decaf in the morning and have all the symptoms you described. However, when I drink iced decaf it is much worse. Why is that


    Hi Debra,

    As mentioned in the article, the various acids in coffee tend to cause these problems, not just the caffeine.

    As for the ice coffee, very cold liquids can also digestive system so this may just be compounding the problem.

    There’s some similar tasting alkaline alternatives here

    All the best,


Em Stoney

This is really helpful..thank you..

Leo Dougherty

Call me a follower, but I only needed 1 reason to join you, and all these fine folks who choose to(o?) also. As I suffer from multiple neuromuscular diseases, doing something this easy (for me) to help my situations is a NO BRAINER. I was able to quit smoking and drinking w/ NO problems, coffee should be a breeze! (1 would think) THANK YOU for the info, SO MUCH!!


Thank you for the article.. I have noticed that the pain in my left side(probably my intestine)has went away when I stopped drinking coffee for 3dayd. I drank one yesterday and the pain seemed to slightly come back.. I am almost positive it was doing something to my intestines and it does work as a fast laxative for me so I have to be careful if there is no restrooms available..


    Hi Nikki,

    Sounds like your digestive system isn’t agreeing with coffee. There’s a similar tasting but alkaline alternative that won’t cause the same sort of problems in this article

    All the best,



I am amazed by the info I have learned from your article. I’ve been suffering alot from diarrhea and couldn’t figure out why. This article has really opened my eyes. Thank you! Thank you! Thank you!


Thanks so much for this informative article. I have been an “all day, every day” coffee drinker for years and have suffered from diarrhea and stomach pain. So, last Friday I gave up coffee! I’ve been feeling a little better (aside from withdrawal symptoms) but I was wondering how long it takes for digestion to get back too normal?


    Hi there and thanks for your positive comments.

    Every day should be better but the more natural and less processed foods you can have the quicker it should heal. If you need extra support with this there’s the method I used here

    All the best,



This article makes a lot of sense. My husband was drinking way too much coffee and wondered why he’d have to run to the bathroom most of the time within 30 minutes of drinking it. He also noticed it would really be painful and he called it the consistency of applesauce. He did not have a solid bowel movement until after he stopped drinking coffee for about 10 days. He feels a lot better in his gastrointestinal health and is not running to the bathroom (and sometimes barely making it). He has switched to a Chai Tea and I can’t say he will stop coffee completely going forward but he has for now and will view it as an occasional treat now instead of a 3-4 cup per day habit.


    Hi Sabrina,

    Yes coffee can definitely cause these kind of gastrointestinal problems, especially in larger amounts. He could also consider the coffee tasting yet healthier alternative in this article

    All the best,



I just ate dinner in a restaurant and had a 2nd cup of coffee…(I rarely have a 2nd cup). My son had just bought a new car and he took me to dinner as I co-signed for him. After having dinner, we were on a highway (somewhat in the country, but still driven on to get from one town to the next) and I had to SUDDENLY go! I quickly told him pull over NOW……..long story short, had to have someone bring us a big blanket to be able to wrap around me in my daughter’s SUV to get me home that was about 6 miles away. Whew…what a day it’s been! Yeah I’m sure it was the 2nd cup of coffee…my first cup is when I’m home and its instant coffee..but out its percolated. I’ve now learned that when I have to be out in public or go to dinner to take 2 anti-diarrheal pills to be on the safe side…I NEVER want to experience being on Route 481 and having to become embarrassed like I was. With about a hundred cars going by me and wondering what happened….ugh!


    Hi Terry,

    That must have been very bad but really shows the dramatic effect coffee can have on your digestive system.

    All the best,


Andrew Kirkman

Hi I was drinking monster about 4 weeks ago for two weeks whilst I was on a Cscs training course, now four weeks later I’m getting bad headaches, and really bad stomach cramps, bean to doctor n they said it’s cos I’ve got acid in my tummy from drinking them jw how long it’ll be before I feel better :/ xx


    Hi Andrew,

    It may help to eat more alkaline vegetables like carrots, cucumbers, celery and greens or fruits like banana and melons.

    All the best,




Well what can I say. I’m researching my GERD. I don’t believe I have a hernia as my Dr was quick to ‘agree with me’ on, but after a LOT of research ans cutting carbs out, I’m on day 6 without Omeprazole.
Having said that, I had a ‘nice’ cup of decaff after a night out (no alcohol, I don’t drink) and went to bed. I wasn’t in bed 5 minutes before I had the most horrendous gnawing pain in my right side, and after the ensuing panic had passed, figured it was that damned coffee on an empty stomach. It’s gone right down and rattled my poor struggling but recovering gut. I must say it took a bit of time before I figured it out, firstly blaming the GERD.
My point? I think coffee is a root cause of my GERD, I have done for a while. I just remember the last time I quit. This article has done me good. Thanks :)


    Thanks Jo and glad you were able to find the source of your GERD. It does surprise me though that more doctors don’t suggest a week off to see if it helps patients.

    All the best,



stomach wind periods pains


I suffered with intestinal cramping for over 20 years, I was only on average a large cup of coffee a day. Went to the gastroenterologist, had many other tests done. They couldn’t find anything. I just popped pain meds for years, accepting the pain. My regular doc retired, and I mentioned the pain to my new doc, not really expecting him to help me. He said stop drinking coffee and see how that works. In like two days I felt way better, wasn’t getting the daily cramping! Yay! I will never drink coffee again!


    Hi Sandra,

    It’s good you finally found the cause but sad that it took so long. I wonder whether alot of doctors like it so much themselves they can’t bring themselves to think of coffee as a cause of gastrointestinal problems. I’d always recommend a second or third option when you’re not getting to the source of the problem.

    All the best,


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