Caffeinated regular coffee is well known for having laxative effects, but what about decaffeinated coffee? It used to be thought that it was the caffeine in coffee that was the primary factor in coffee’s laxative effects.

But, more recently, some scientific studies suggest that decaffeinated coffee can also have a laxative effect, though not as strong as caffeinated coffee. The reasons for this are currently unknown and require more research to be conducted.

So, can decaf coffee really affect the bowels?

Well, a study by the National Cancer Institute in Lithuania conducted on people with colon surgery in 2015 showed that indeed, decaffeinated coffee did have an impact on bowel movements especially for those who had postoperative ileus, which is a digestive problem that usually occurs after abdominal surgery.

Another study by scientists at the College of Medicine at the University of Iowa entitled “Is coffee a colonic stimulant?” published in 1988, showed that decaffeinated and caffeinated coffee, if taken with a 1000 calorie meal, stimulated the colon, however they asserted that caffeinated coffee can had a 23% stronger effect than decaffeinated coffee.

Another similar study entitled ‘Effect of coffee on distal colon function’, published in 1990 by researchers at the Royal Hallamshire Hospital in the UK, also indicated a connection between digestion and coffee. It said that people who drank decaffeinated coffee increased their rectosigmoid motility, which is the movement that happens at the intersection of larger colon’s end and upper rectum.

But does coffee’s laxative effects everyone?

No, coffee doesn’t have the same effect on everybody - and hence, it does not make everyone poop.

But, still, it is a common reaction and it’s fair to say that coffee can have laxative effects on the majority of coffee drinkers.

 So, yes, pooping after coffee is totally normal and some research suggests that about 30% of people feel the need to poop right after drinking coffee?

IMPORTANT: This information is intended to support, not replace, discussion with your doctor or healthcare professionals. Nothing in the content or products should be considered, or used as a substitute for, medical advice, diagnosis or treatment. You should always talk to your health care provider for diagnosis and treatment, including your specific medical needs.

November 06, 2022 — Guy Wilmot

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