Why Does My Stomach Hurt After Drinking Coffee?

Why Does My Stomach Hurt After Drinking Coffee

Life is full of tough choices. We are constantly faced with making decisions, sometimes we even have to compromise or give up on the things we love. But drinking coffee shouldn’t have to be one of those things. If you are like me, you love the smell of a freshly brewed coffee in the morning (or any other time of day). I must admit however, I enjoy the aroma of coffee sometimes even more than drinking the coffee itself. Unfortunately, I decided to cut down on my cup of morning Joe, because it gave me uncomfortable stomach pain after drinking coffee. I wonder.. Why does my stomach hurt after drinking coffee?

This could have been because I used milk in my coffee and I happen to be lactose intolerant, and since I don’t like to drink dark coffee, I just decided to take it easy. That was a personal choice. But for most others who don’t want to have to give up their coffee, but also don’t want the unpleasant indigestion that often accompanies it, what are they to do? Given some of the health benefits of drinking coffee, it becomes difficult to take advantage of those benefits when our digestive system takes a beating with each cup.

Coffee And The Stomach

Let’s take a brief look at what coffee does to our digestive system. For some, drinking coffee and getting stomach aches seem to go hand in hand. This makes sense since coffee acts on the central nervous system (CNS) and causes the stomach to “contract and squeeze”.

Moreover, coffee is a slightly acidic drink, so it can affect or irritate the lining of the stomach and digestive tract. As we know, our stomachs contain one of the strongest acids in the world, namely hydrochloric acid (HCl), potassium cholride (KCl) and sodium chloride (NaCl).

Stomach acid is produced by cells in the lining of the stomach. This comes in very handy when we need to digest and break down the foods we eat. It’s too much of the acids that becomes troublesome.

Why Does Coffee Make My Stomach Hurt?

As briefly mentioned before, coffee is slightly acidic, once it enters our body, the caffeine in the coffee increases the acidity of our stomach. In other words, caffeine leads to the secretion of additional acids in the stomach.

Caffeine is considered a laxative, which means it can irritate the stomach by forcing the digestive tract to move faster.

Possible Causes of Stomach pain After drinking coffee

Coffee’s effect on the digestive system has been documented.

Due to its acidic nature, coffee can exasperate heart burn, which can lead to symptoms of indigestion

There is some evidence that shows coffee or caffeine can speed up the movement of the digestive tract, which can change the rate food is digested-leading to discomfort.

Unfortunately there are not too many studies on the effects of coffee and the digestive system, and most evidence is anecdotal. One study points out that coffee stimulates the release of gastrin, a hormone that stimulates the secretion of gastric acid.

There are however, conflicting results and others show that coffee does not affect small bowel movement. Longer colonic transit time is associated with laxative and drug use, lifestyle factors, and symptoms of constipation.


Can Coffee Cause Constipation?

8 Ways to drink Coffee without Stomach Pain

The good news for coffee lovers is that they can still enjoy their morning (or afternoon) cup of coffee. It has been suggested by some that doing the following can help you enjoy your brew;

  1. Going for a low acidity, stomach friendly coffee. This makes sense as high acidity upsets the digestive system.
  2. Opt for dark roast coffee. Some studies show that dark roast compared with medium, has a higher amount of N-methylpyridinium (NMP), thereby decreasing the amount of stomach acid released. NMP is a chemical found in coffee which is believed to help ease coffee related symptoms.
  3. Use a cold brewing method. Rather than brewing coffee the usual way (using hot water), try brewing it in cold water. This claims to reduce the acidity of the final drink by as much as 66%, The brewed concentrate can then be enjoyed with hot water.
  4. In addition, we tend to have upset stomachs when our stomachs are empty and drinking coffee on an empty stomach can lead to irritation. Try having some food before consuming coffee.
  5. Eat a banana. Bananas have been known to be alkaline and thus counter the harshness’ of the extra acids produced by the coffee
  6. Cutting down. If you are a person who drinks more than 2 cups of coffee per day, you may benefit from reducing that amount to 1-2 cups
  7. Take your time. Drinking (or sipping) your coffee slowly and enjoying it over a longer period may also make it easier on your stomach, and somewhat avoid the surge in the secretion of acids that occurs once food enters our bloodstream
  8. Try decaffeinated coffee. Last but not least, since caffeine in coffee might be what is irritating your stomach, trying decaffeinated coffee might not be such a bad idea. Once more, since caffeine increases stomach acidity it can lead to heart burn and upset stomach in some people, therefore cutting down on caffeinated coffee can provide some cure

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Coffee and Stomach Pain

To recap, coffee lovers across the world, who suffer from upset stomach after drinking coffee, don’t have to suffer or give up on their coffee consumption. The unpleasant symptoms sometimes experienced by some coffee drinkers (upset stomach, indigestion, etc.) is due to an increase in stomach acid. We have also listed 8 tips to alleviate stomach pain due to coffee. It might require a little research and trial and error on the part of the consumer, but it will be worth it once that balance is found. In the end, a little might go a long way.


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