Why Does Coffee Make You Go to... the Restroom


everything about coffee and going to the restroom
The Waka Life Blog

Why Does Coffee Make You Go to... the Restroom

Yup, there is nothing to be shy about. Coffee is delicious but also have some side effect that may delay you in the morning, and we are not talking about the time it takes you to make it.

Ever thought about why you are suddenly running to the restroom after your cup of coffee? The reason for this is actually pretty simple, and it has to do with what's in your favorite cup of joe. Let's explore!

Coffee can affect your nervous system, change your mood and behavior, and even make your bladder and digestive system work faster. Coffee is a natural energizer all packed into a neat little cup. 

What is a Diuretic?

can't poop without coffee

A diuretic is a substance that causes diuresis, or simply the increase of urine in the bladder. The more diuretics there are in the body, the more the bladder fills up with urine, causing the you to need the restroom more.

Not only do diuretic increases urine levels it also pushes what is already in the bladder out, making you feel as if you constantly have to go to the restroom. Diuretics are found in many foods specifically liquids such as water, tea, beer and you guessed -- coffee!

Caffeine, which is found in coffee, is actually a natural diuretics. Whether you have one cup, or four cups, coffee might make you want to go to the restroom as it expel more urine from your body than the the consumed liquid of choice. 

What is a laxative?

why do you need to go to the restroom after coffee

Laxatives are another reason for why you have to run to the bathroom after drinking coffee. Laxatives are substances that increase bowel movement, the other form of bodily functions, forcing you to need the bathroom more urgently. Because of that, your colon is more likely to become active after drinking a cup of coffee. If you don't take your coffee black, but add milk or cream you can expect even more bowel movement as they both also contain lactose, which can trigger the urge to poop with some people.

Gastrocolic reflex is when your colon becomes more active, which makes the processed food move to the last phase of the digestive tract faster. Although coffee is a liquid, it still needs to be processed in your body just as any other foods would need to be. The acids found in coffee, (N-alkanoyl-5-hydroxytryptamides) stimulate the production of stomach acid, which help churn food and move it quickly through our gut. In fact, past research found out that that caffeine makes our colon 60% more active than water and 23% more active than decaf coffee! 

Does it happen more to males of females?

coffee and going to the restroom after coffee

If you are one of the people that add milk or cream and have lactose intolerance, the effect will be the same both for females and males. In fact, in a 1990 study titled "Effect of coffee on distal colon function" 29% of respondents "claimed that coffee induced a desire to defecate" after drinking black unsweetened coffee.

Interestingly enough, out of those respondents 62% were females. This data corresponds with another research showing that gastrointestinal disorders are actually more common in women because of the fluctuations of female sex hormones.

How long after drinking coffee you will need to go?

Our bodies are all different, so there is no one clear answer to this question; however, there was some research done that can help us understand this question a bit better. 

In this research, participants indicated they had to go to the restroom as fast as 4 minutes after they drank their caffeinated and decaffeinated coffee drink.  

In an interview with Health says Kyle Staller, M.D., a gastroenterologist at Massachusetts General Hospital, that “you’re most likely to have a bowel movement when you wake up (because your colon wakes up), after you eat a meal, and when you drink coffee. Syncing those three things up gives you the best chance to get things going.”


how to stop going to the restroom after coffee

  • Cut back on the coffee cups per day and try to time it for when you can use the restroom. It can actually help you go more regularly.
  • Switch to low acidity coffee. It may help with digestion in people prone to acid reflux.
  • Avoid low-filtered methods as they may increase the need for the restroom.
  • Eat something with your coffee as the more you eat with your cup of joe, the less likely you will have to rush to the restroom.

Listen to your body and keep in mind that coffee affects each individual differently. What might be the norm for one person can be the complete opposite for another person. Coffee plays such a crucial part in our daily lives, so it's only fair to understand that not everyone has the same symptoms after drinking coffee. Try and plan your coffee intake around the times you usually take your breaks, so you can be most efficient in the workplace or during your day wherever you are.

Try our quality instant coffee here.


Waka Coffee & Tea