Of Coffee, Caffeine and Abdominal Pain.



Did you know that coffee can cause stomach cramps and abdominal pain?

I didn’t know this because once upon a time, I had been an avid coffee drinker. I had to have at least one cup of coffee a day or I’d get cranky. Also, many scientists, studies and surveys have claimed the importance of coffee and how it can help you in terms of your health and other mindful matters. So I figured I’d better get myself caffeinated as much as possible.

Unfortunately, my coffee-drinking days came to a screeching halt when I found myself rushing for the toilet immediately after downing a cappuccino. This happened quite some time early this year in January 2016. I thought it was ordinary stomach cramps but I suspected that it could have been the coffee. I was appalled because I loved coffee! Something was wrong but I couldn’t quite place my finger on it. How could coffee do this to me?

Chemicals in Your Coffee

You see, coffee contains a complex concoction of chemicals, several of which could be responsible for causing stomach pain and discomfort. One of the chemicals is a type of acid called chlorogenic acid, and according to an article published in the medical journal Critical Reviews in Food Science and Nutrition in 2006.

Apparently, if we experienced stomach pain after drinking coffee, we should consult a doctor because in rare cases, stomach pain induced by coffee may be a sign of a health condition requiring medical care. I didn’t, though, and haven’t gone to see a doctor yet because I was told that I wasn’t alone in this. That there have been a good number of people who suffered from the same thing.

Chlorogenic Acid

Most people I know don’t seem to be suffering from this. But if you’re anything like me, according to the University of Maryland Medical Center, a regular exposure to the chlorogenic acid in coffee, especially on an empty stomach, can lead to an irritation of the stomach lining which is also known as gastritis. Gastritis can often result in stomach or abdominal pain. Additional symptoms of gastritis include heartburn, hiccups, nausea and vomiting.

Stomach Ulcers

If left untreated, severe gastritis can lead to the formation of a hole in the stomach lining, which is also known as a peptic ulcer. If an ulcer has formed, any acidic liquids and foods can make you suffer from an even greater pain than gastritis alone. Some of the severe symptoms include vomiting blood or a dark substance that resembles coffee grounds, and blood in the stools. If you do not go for medical treatment, the peptic ulcers will continue to worsen and cause additional pain and discomfort.

The caffeine in your coffee can also contribute to stomach pain through several different means, apart from keeping you awake at night in bed. Your central nervous system is stimulated by caffeine, and this causes the stomach to produce excess stomach acid. This excess is the one that contributes to gastritis or ulcer formation. Caffeine can also cause cramping of the abdominal muscles which may result in additional pain or discomfort.


So, if you frequently experience stomach pain after drinking coffee, this could be a sign that you have gastritis or a peptic ulder. Your best bet is to avoid drinking acidic beverages which includes coffee, fruit juice and carbonated sodas if you want to reduce your chances of suffering from gastritis. You should also avoid alcohol, tobacco and other non-steroidal anti-inflammatory medications like aspirin and ibuprofen as they can irritate your stomach. Though, you might still want to pay a visit to your doctor to be on the safe side.

Which reminds me… Perhaps I should go and see mine since this isn’t the first time, and quite possibly won’t be the last time either if I forget and drank a hot steaming cup of cafe latte.

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