Drinking morning coffee is like a signal that tells us it’s time to wake up and start our day. For some people, it even acts as a means to promote bowel movement and relieve constipation.
Although coffee is one of the most popular beverages enjoyed by many people, there is still much to be learned about its impact on the digestive system. It is not likely that caffeine is the cause of the urge to go to the bathroom. A study comparing decaf coffee to warm water found that decaf coffee induces a stronger urge to use the bathroom.
With over 1000 compounds present in coffee, it is not easy to identify which substance has which effect. Because there are differences in people’s health conditions and the effects of various substances such as caffeine, even if they drink the same coffee, the experience can vary from person to person.
In a small study of 92 adults published in the journal “Gut”, 29% of respondents felt the urge to have a bowel movement after drinking coffee. Another study found that muscle contraction and increased colon pressure occurred after drinking coffee. These changes occurred within just four minutes of drinking coffee. However, those who do not feel the urge to go to the bathroom after drinking coffee do not experience any significant changes in their bowel movements.
This can be explained by the gut-brain theory. The gut and brain are connected, so when you drink coffee, a message is sent to your brain that says, “Coffee has arrived, so it’s time to empty the bowels,” and the activity of the intestines can be stimulated.
Although the clear mechanism by which coffee affects the digestive system has not been proven, some studies have shown that coffee stimulates the contraction of the colon area like eating 1,000 calories of food. This suggests that several compounds in coffee could be highly involved in the digestion process.
Some people claim they cannot have a bowel movement on days when they don’t drink coffee. Therefore, some health experts warn that excessive dependence on coffee should be avoided. It is important to understand that even if you do not drink coffee, increasing your water and fiber intake and engaging in physical activity can promote bowel movements. If you tend to drink coffee to help with bowel movements, you can gradually reduce your coffee intake and increase your fiber intake instead.