Why do some people defecate after drinking coffee?

Tuesday, 02/01/2024, 18:11 (GMT+7)

If you're a coffee drinker, you may have experienced the sudden urge to poop after drinking your morning cup of joe. This phenomenon is known as "coffee poops."

Have you ever wondered why a cup of coffee can send you running to the bathroom

Discover the intriguing science behind this phenomenon and unravel the mysterious connection between coffee and its unexpected impact on your digestive system, which leads to poop whenever you drink a cup of coffee.

The science behind coffee poops

The digestive system is responsible for breaking down food, absorbing nutrients, and eliminating waste from the body. 

When we consume food or drinks, they pass through the stomach and small intestine for nutrient absorption. 

The remaining waste products move into the large intestine, where water is absorbed and solid stool is formed before elimination.

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You may experience the feeling of urging to poop whenever you drink coffee but don't know why. Image Credit: Getty

Now, let's take a closer look at how coffee affects this process. 

Scientists have shown that the caffeine in coffee boosts the motor activity of the colon. 

It has a strength comparable to that of a meal, is 60% more potent than water, and is 23% more potent than decaffeinated coffee.

When we consume coffee, the caffeine stimulates the muscles in our colon, causing them to contract more frequently and with greater force.

This results in a faster transit time for waste products through our digestive tract, leading to the urge to poop.

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Caffeine in coffee stimulates colon muscles, leading to faster bowel movement and the urge to poop. Image Credit: Getty

The role of liquid intake

Some people may wonder if it's just the caffeine in coffee that causes the urge to poop or if the liquid itself plays a role. 

The truth is that any type of liquid can help stimulate bowel movements by softening stools and making them easier to pass. 

This is why it's important to stay hydrated and drink plenty of water throughout the day.

However, studies have shown that coffee has a more significant effect on bowel movements compared to other liquids. 

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Compared to other drinks, coffee has a greater impact on bowel motions, which causes the urge to poop. Image Credit: Getty

In a quick study, researchers placed a six-sensor solid-state probe in the colon of 12 healthy volunteers and monitored their bowel movements after consuming different types of drinks. 

They found that caffeinated coffee, decaffeinated coffee, and meals induced more activity in the colon compared to water. 

According to the study: "Caffeine 3.5 mg/kg body weight in 200 ml of water resulted in stronger anal sphincter contractions both at basal period and during voluntary squeeze. The sensory threshold was also decreased, leading to an earlier desire to defecate."

"Caffeine consumption may result in an earlier desire to defecate, leading to defecation if the anal sphincter can relax voluntarily," they added.

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Caffeinated coffee, decaffeinated coffee, and meals increase colon activity, leading to an earlier urge to poop. Image Credit: Getty

Only coffee makes you poop

The studies also emphasized that coffee is not the only drink that can make you poop. 

Other caffeinated beverages, such as tea and energy drinks, can also have a similar effect due to their caffeine content. 

Additionally, certain foods like prunes, high-fiber fruits and vegetables, and spicy foods can also stimulate bowel movements.

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Not only coffee, tea, or energy drinks can also make you poop. Image Credit: Getty

Additionally, many people assume that decaffeinated coffee won't cause the urge to poop since it doesn't contain caffeine. 

However, as mentioned earlier, studies have shown that decaf coffee can still have a laxative effect on our digestive system. 

This could be due to other compounds in coffee, such as chlorogenic acid, which have been shown to increase the production of gastric acid and stimulate bowel movements.