Why coffee makes you use the toilet

We are sure that many of our readers have been caught up in this unpleasant circumstance: coffee and the need to use the toilet.

Coffee is the favourite drink of many of us. Still, unfortunately, not everyone enjoys it to the same extent, and some cannot enjoy it to their heart’s content because each organism tolerates it differently.

In this article, we will analyse this strange direct relationship between coffee drinking and the need for a toilet that occurs in some people, and we will try to give some advice on how to solve it. If drinking coffee makes you go to the toilet frequently, you will certainly be interested in reading this to the end.

The first thing to clarify is the following question: does coffee make you defecate more frequently? And the answer, broadly speaking, is no. The majority of coffee drinkers in the world drink coffee every day without any problems or significant side effects. Some of these were mentioned in our post on the properties and effects of coffee.

So the laxative effect of coffee should not be attributed exclusively to the beverage but rather to a bad combination or tolerance of coffee in your own body.

How does coffee really affect the stomach?

If we get technical, coffee makes you go to the toilet because it promotes the release of a hormone in the stomach (called gastrin) that is responsible for getting the colon moving and ‘working‘.

It also triggers the secretion of bile, a process that our intestines always interpret as a signal that “there is food to be expelled”. And being the obedient organisms they are, they get to work and flush it out of the body.

These processes that arise from drinking coffee in the morning must be distinguished from the natural, everyday process of the intestinal tract, which has generally been inactive all night. In the morning, when it receives food, it starts up simply because it needs it.

This is why coffee sometimes seems to have a different laxative effect (or not at all) depending on whether it is drunk on its own or with a hearty breakfast.

How do I know if coffee is bad for me?

Unfortunately, there is rarely a way to know in advance. The only way to know if coffee has a laxative effect on you is to experience it yourself.

There is usually a link between coffee and diarrhoea in the morning so that when you drink your coffee for breakfast, you need to go to the toilet urgently within a few minutes.

There are also cases where a person can tolerate morning coffee perfectly well for their whole life and then start having problems and go to the toilet every time they try a cup. There is no fixed rule for this.

We know that many factors vary the way coffee affects the stomach, and one of them is how accustomed we are to drinking it.

For this reason, regular coffee drinkers (several cups a day) usually notice less of its laxative effects than more occasional drinkers.

Do other types of coffee (with milk) have a laxative effect?

You’re mistaken if you think that “lightening” your coffee with a little milk will make it a less loaded product.

Caffeine is responsible for activating bowel activity. Making coffee makes you go to the toilet, so the amount of caffeine will be the same even if you add (or subtract) ingredients to your normal coffee. The effects will be the same.

Is there any coffee that doesn’t make you go to the toilet? As we will see in the next section, decaffeinated coffee can be a reasonable solution for consumers who suffer from this problem more virulently.

what is the relationship between decaffeinated coffee and the laxative effect?

We have already seen that the main reason for the laxative effects of coffee is caffeine, so decaffeinated coffee may be a suitable solution to enjoy a proper coffee without going to the toilet after a few minutes.

It is impossible to guarantee that decaffeinated coffee will not cause diarrhoea, especially in severe cases. But it has been shown that regular coffee has a much greater laxative effect than decaffeinated coffee.

So now you know: if coffee makes you sick to your stomach and you feel the need to drink one (for example, in the middle of the morning, at breakfast or at a work meeting where there is no alternative), try a decaffeinated coffee, and your problem will usually be much reduced.

NOTE: None of the information on this page is supported by scientific evidence or endorsed by any professional. If you have any doubts about your health, always consult a doctor.

Related: Does coffee stain your teeth?