Coffee And IBS: What You Need To Know?

So many of us feel like we’d be lost without a few cups of coffee during the day! It’s how many people start their day, and also one of the things that many people seem to rely on at work! However, it’s also true that coffee can make IBS worse for many people.

Coffee And IBS: What You Need To Know

Is Coffee Bad For IBS?

Coffee is definitely something that can make your IBS worse. It’s something that a lot of us use to start our day, but if you’re an IBS sufferer, then you might well notice that coffee can cause your IBS to flare up!

It’s an unfortunate situation, as coffee is a part of the daily routine of many people. It’s a great drink for providing a little bit of a wake up, and many people find that a strong coffee is the best way to kick start their day.

However, if the symptoms of IBS start to show after drinking coffee, then it’s probably a safe bet that coffee isn’t doing you any favors!

This can be particularly noticeable if drinking strong coffee. This is because it’s caffeine that gives coffee its strength – and the more of it you have, the stronger the irritation to your insides can be.

Many sufferers of IBS find that coffee makes them need to visit the toilet soon after drinking.

Some other symptoms that can be caused or exacerbated by coffee are stomach pain, acid indigestion, and acid reflux.

So, if you find that you start to suffer with any of these symptoms after a cup of coffee, you might well be having a bad reaction to it!

One of the best things you can do is to get real medical advice. See a doctor, and discuss your symptoms with them.

Many doctors recommend that IBS sufferers regulate their caffeine intake, and try to keep it to an appropriate minimum.

People can find it difficult to cut out caffeine from their diet entirely, particularly at first, so it can actually be a more challenging change to get used to than many might first think.

After all, if you’ve spent years waking up to a morning coffee, you’ll definitely not feel quite the same at first – but it might well be a much better thing for you than the IBS symptoms that a coffee can cause.

Do I Have To Give Up Coffee Entirely?

Only you can truly know your own body, and your own routine. Depending on your symptoms, you might well be able to tolerate coffee in moderate amounts without any adverse affects or increased symptoms of IBS.

Many IBS sufferers can still drink coffee – but of course, this is depending on the individual.

Many coffee drinkers find that a switch to decaffeinated coffee can help. However, just as many would say that decaf just doesn’t hit the spot like regular coffee does, and would rather not make the switch.

However, switching to black coffee can help in some cases, as milk can also be a cause of IBS symptoms.

Removing milk from your coffee routine could well be something to consider – of course, you’ll have to get used to the stronger taste of black coffee!

Coffee And IBS: What You Need To Know

And of course, you can try other drinks out too. Tea is a particular favorite of many, and there are a wide variety of delicious teas available.

Tea still contains caffeine, however, so it isn’t an option for those trying to cut caffeine out of their diet entirely.

If you find that you can’t cope with the IBS symptoms that you get after drinking coffee, then you should consider cutting it out of your diet entirely.

It might be a difficult change at first, but you’ll get used to it – and you’ll be happy that you’re not suffering with discomfort from it!

Of course, the most important thing for you to do is to make any decisions with the consultation of a medical professional. Always make sure to see a doctor when it comes to your health!

They’ll be able to help advise you about your symptoms and how you can manage them – including any changes you might make to your diet.

IBS isn’t something you should feel like you’re alone with – millions of people have IBS across the world, and your doctor will be more than ready to put you at ease and help you understand what’s happening, and how you can manage it.

Why Does Coffee Make IBS Worse?

Simply put, it’s because of the caffeine! Caffeine is a key part of the whole coffee experience for many people, and the kick that it gives you is sadly missing for them when drinking decaffeinated coffee.

Caffeine gives us an energy boost in the short term, and many people start their day with a cup (or 2!) of coffee in the morning because it can help get focused, alert, and ready for the day.

However, too much caffeine is bad for anyone! Everyone who drinks coffee has had at least one day where they’ve drunk a little too many cups, and they’re perhaps a little too awake!

It can cause jitteriness, and can actually make it harder to focus! And likewise, for IBS sufferers, it also has negative effects on the digestive system.

Caffeine makes the stomach produce more acid, which can both bring on and exacerbate the symptoms of acid indigestion and acid reflux. It can lead to stomach pain, and diarrhea too.

Therefore, for many IBS sufferers, it’s just not worth drinking coffee anymore.

Another reason why coffee can make IBS worse is the milk! Milk is often a trigger for IBS in many people, and combined with caffeine, there’s even more chance that it can make IBS worse.

Cutting milk out of your coffee can help, but in a lot of cases it’s a better idea to stop drinking coffee altogether. Again, only you can make the right decision for you – and you should always speak to a doctor whenever you have any concerns about your body!


If you’re having problems with your IBS, then coffee could well be one of the reasons. The best thing to do is to speak to a doctor about your IBS – they’ll be able to give you the help you need!

Joshua Damie
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