Does Coffee Make Everyone Poop?

Pelvic Floored Logo

Does Coffee Make Everyone Poop?
(& What to Do if it DOES it to you!)

No…But it DOES make a lot of people poop.

Does Coffee Make Everyone Poop? It’s another question that I am asked quite often in my professional life. The answer is no. No-one reacts ‘the same’ to everything, and coffee is no exception. But the actual science behind why coffee makes some people (and in some categories, ‘most people’ poop), is truly fascinating! Read on to learn the fascinating reasons why…and to learn what to do if ‘the dreaded urge’ strikes you!

Let’s start with the next most common questions I am asked, after people ask me if coffee makes everyone poop. Are you ready? Hold onto your butts, people, and let’s go!

Is getting the urge to poop after drinking coffee ‘normal’?

Oh the dreaded ‘normal’.

Let’s save the conversation for if ‘common’ and ‘normal’ mean the same thing for another time, and I will answer you that YES, getting the urge to poop after ingesting coffee (even decaffeinated coffee!) is common for MANY individuals.

In fact, there was a super fun study in the viral April of 1990 edition of the journal Gut (access the article here) that actually studied this. The researchers asked nearly 100 healthy 17-27 year olds (58 men, 34 women…I guess it was harder to get gals to chat about their bowel habits) if coffee ‘got their motors running’ when it came to pooping.

They found…that overall, YES!!! 29 % overall reported an urge to defecate (fancy word for poop), including 63% of the women!!! Wow!!! That’s something!!!

Coffee caused 63% of the women to get an urge to poop??

Yep. Now, granted the sample size was small, and maybe the responders were inclined to participate in a study about poop and coffee because they were ‘responders’ and wondered about their urgency, but it’s still telling. And if a sample size of my friends with vaginas is any comparison, the study was under-reporting, if anything.

So, to answer your question, yes, getting the urge to poop after ingesting coffee is indeed common. Whether it’s ‘normal’ or not depends on the strength of the urge. If it’s a healthy, calm, “Yeah, I get to poop!”, then it’s normal. If it’s a Holy CRAP, I need to RUN to the bathroom, or I’m going to poop my pants!” then, it’s not normal, and you should chat with a Pelvic PT.

But WHY does the coffee make us want to poop? It’s the caffeine…isn’t it…

Nope. Not the caffeine. Other studies have studied the effects of decaf and full caffeine coffee, and find that urgency occurs in both groups, so it’s not just the caffeine.

Also, if it was “just” the caffeine, then we’d have to rush to the bathroom after Red Bull, and you never hear about that, do you?? (Made you think, didn’t I? I know I’m right, because I get the urge to poop after coffee, but never after Red Bull or Monster. You’re welcome).

So what is it about coffee that makes us poop?

The Germans studied this long ago (Article summary here) and those smarty-pants compared the effects of putting coffee, decaf coffee and pure caffeine into humans’ stomachs, and then studied the effect on ‘gastric secretion’, which is fancy speak for goop that gets your digestion moving. (Side note, where can I sign up for the pure caffeine? It sounds amazing.)

They found, much to my dismay, that instilling pure caffeine to the stomach did not effect the basal serum gastrin concentration levels.

Again, for those in the back, it wasn’t the caffeine. The pure caffeine didn’t get the digestive juices flowing :(.

BUT…full caffeinated coffee, AND decaffeinated coffee? Yep. There was SIGNIFICANT increase in gastrin levels. Meaning the motors were accelerated, and thus, the urge to poop.

That first study (the one that found that 63% of people with vaginas got the urge to poop after drinking coffee), followed up by measuring the rectosigmoid colon motility (the speed that ‘poop’ moves through the bottom quarter of the digestive tract, before evacuation, or pooping), in 14 people who reported that coffee made them want to poop. They got 12 men and 2 women (again, not sure why they couldn’t get those evened out), and found that there WAS increased rectosigmoid colon motility in this subgroup that lasted about 30 minutes after a cup of coffee.

So what’s the moral of the story?

This can be a double edged sword, really. For some of us, who are responders, we can use coffee responsibly, to help initiate a poop-response, and we know that it will happen within 30 minutes of ingestion, if it’s going to happen. So we could use this as a tool to plan our poops.

For those non-responders (60% of all people and 30% of people with vaginas), read this with curiosity, and wonder what it would be like to drink something and then get an urge to poop…

For “Hyper-Responders”, those who get THE URGE and fear they might poop their pants, first go see a PT (read this post to learn more), because the urge should NOT be this bad. After scheduling that appointment, watch this video for tips on HOW to use your pelvic muscles to temporarily reduce the urge, long enough for you to get your cute butt to the bathroom.

These Hyperresponders should drink coffee cautiously. Be aware of your surrounds and choose to imbibe when a bathroom is accessible. And if it’s not accessible, choose a tea or milk-based drink, (or Red Bull), which won’t have the same urgency response.

And for those of you who DO get the Urge to poop after Coffee…I have a treat for you

Watch this video and learn tips from a pro. Yes, you’re welcome, and no, you can’t have my sweater. (but this and this are hilarious current options…send me pictures, please)

Thanks for Reading!

This post was more about pooping. Everybody poops, so let’s talk about it, and let’s poop better. My “Poop Better” course will be available SOON, and will change everyone’s life who has a pelvis. You’re welcome.

In fact, coming soon, the whole dang website is getting a face lift (and a butt lift, because it’s feeling a bit saggy, and low in confidence), and coming in Fall of 2022, you won’t recognize us anymore 🙂 :). Pelvic Floored has ARRIVED as a major player in the Pelvic Wellness Industry, and it’s all thanks to YOU!!!

In the now, check out my Pelvic Floored Signature Lecture Series for in-depth training of how your current pelvic floor muscle status could be contributing to your pain, incontinence, constipation, pelvic organ pressure, or sexual dysfunction complaints. The program includes 12 mini lectures, and 12 progressive exercise programs that I developed based upon current research, as well as my 16 years of experience in pelvic health. You can stream them as often as you’d like from the privacy of your home

A full pelvic floor physical therapy program, for less than the price of one standard in person PT evaluation!

What other motivation do you need? Did I mention that for every 4 courses I sell, I will donate one to a person in need, through my People Before Profits Program. I am so proud of this. By buying my program you are not only helping yourself (or your loved one), but also someone in need.

If buying my program isn’t in the cards right now, no worries! Please join my mailing list to be kept up to date on other free tips for your best pelvic health! My AMAZING blog posts are filled with practical tips for improving your pelvic (and overall) health prenatally, postpartum and beyond! Mailing list subscribers also get exclusive discounts to Pelvic Floored products, and access to subscriber only events!  Don’t miss out!  Sign up Today

Thanks for reading!

xoxo, Dr. Kelly

Tell your friends kids and parent graphic

Does Coffee Make Everyone Poop?
Scroll to top