Is Coffee A Laxative?

  • By: Steve
  • Date: May 17, 2022
  • Time to read: 4 min.

 

You will often find that you need to go to the toilet soon after drinking your first cup of coffee of the day but that’s more likely to be part of your daily routine rather than the coffee being a laxative.

A lot of people poo every day and find that they go at around the same time each day.

Because it is very common to drink coffee multiple times throughout the day it is very likely to coincide with a time when you have just had a coffee.

Therefore you drink a cup of coffee and then you get the feeling you need to go to the toilet shortly afterwards and it gets linked to the coffee you have recently consumed.

What is a laxative?

A laxative is any substance that loosens your poo and induces bowel movement.

The NHS has a very good breakdown of all the different types of laxative and coffee is not one of them.

Mostly used to treat constipation, a laxative is something that will make you go to the toilet when you wouldn’t have if you didn’t take the laxative in the first place.

So the easiest way to try and work out if drinking coffee is causing you to go to the toilet is to first ask yourself if you would probably have gone anyway.

If you find yourself drinking coffee first thing in the morning and then that triggers going to the toilet shortly afterwards then that’s completely normal.

Personally, I have 4 or 5 cups a coffee a day and my regular bowel movement is normally after my first cup of coffee each day.

I’m pretty sure that the coffee is not the trigger to going to the toilet because it doesn’t happen after I drink my second, third or fourth cup of the day.

By the way, if you think that drinking 4 or 5 cups of coffee may be bad for you then take a look at this article that explains in more detail:

Is coffee good for you?

If you think that coffee is making you go to the toilet unnecessarily then try not drinking coffee for one day and see if it affects your normal routine of going to the toilet.

What you will most likely find is that you still go at or around the same time regardless of whether you drink coffee beforehand or not.

It is a lot more common for coffee to make you want to pee rather than poo but again when you drink an amount of liquid in a short timeframe then it will make you want to go to the toilet shortly afterwards.

Because coffee is 90% water your body will process it in a similar way to water.

If you drink a glass of water then it isn’t going to be long before you need to go to the toilet and coffee is no different.

Can drinking coffee give you diarrhoea?

There is no evidence to suggest that coffee is directly responsible for causing anyone to get diarrhoea.

Something that is very common is Lactose intolerance with many people not being able to digest many dairy products without it making them feel uncomfortable.

There is a lot of Lactose in milk and so if you take milk with your coffee then it would be easy to mistake the coffee for giving you diarrhoea when it could, in fact, be the milk.

Try your coffee black and see if that helps. If you don’t like black coffee then there is a number of things you can do to improve the flavour.

This article explains how to make black coffee better:

What is black coffee?

Caffeine doesn’t cause a laxative effect

There are a lot of suggestions that caffeine can contribute to the opening of your bowels and there is certainly plenty of caffeine in coffee so its affair shout. or is it?

There is also plenty of caffeine in many fizzy drinks and energy drinks and there doesn’t seem to be any reports of people rushing to the toilet every time they have a red bull.

If you are interested in the difference between coffee and energy drinks from a caffeine perspective this article explains more:

Coffee vs energy drinks

People that report coffee makes them go to the toilet only say that it happens once during the day.

So if you have 3 or 4 coffees throughout the day, it doesn’t trigger a visit to the loo every time you have a coffee so that further points to it being very unlikely that the caffeine causes a laxative effect.

Here is a video that goes into the science of why coffee may make you poo:

It’s pretty clear to us that coffee does not have a laxative effect but even if you are experiencing something to suggest that it is then that’s not a bad thing anyway.

A regular bowel movement is a good thing and if coffee can contribute to that then all the merrier.

Trusted Coffee Reviews