Why Does Coffee Make My Stomach Hurt? Unsolved Mysteries

Do you ever drink a cup of coffee and afterward experience an uncomfortable twinge in your stomach? Or maybe after a few sips, you find yourself needing to make multiple trips to the restroom? You’re not alone. Plenty of people are going through the same thing yet can’t seem to figure out why. Understanding why this happens is key in helping us manage our relationship with that morning pick-me-up we all love so much. In this blog post, I’m going to share what my research uncovered about why does coffee make my stomach hurt.

Caffeine: Nature’s Stimulant?

Yes, caffeine is a natural stimulant found in various plants, including coffee beans, tea leaves, cacao beans, and kola nuts. Caffeine works by blocking the action of an inhibitory neurotransmitter called adenosine, which can increase the activity of other neurotransmitters such as dopamine and norepinephrine. This can lead to an increase in alertness, focus, and energy.

Caffeine is the most widely consumed psychoactive substance in the world, and it is commonly found in beverages such as coffee, tea, and energy drinks. It is also found in some medications, such as pain relievers and weight loss supplements.

While caffeine can provide a range of benefits, including increased alertness and cognitive function, it can also have negative side effects, such as jitters, anxiety, and insomnia. Additionally, regular caffeine consumption can lead to dependence and withdrawal symptoms.

It’s important to consume caffeine in moderation and be aware of your individual sensitivity to caffeine. If you experience negative side effects or have difficulty sleeping, consider reducing your caffeine intake or consuming it earlier in the day. As with any substance, it’s always a good idea to talk to your healthcare provider before making significant changes to your caffeine consumption.

Importance Of Coffee In Daily Life

Coffee holds great importance in daily life for many people around the world. Here are some reasons why:

1. Energy boost: Coffee is known for its ability to provide an energy boost due to the presence of caffeine. It helps people stay alert and focused, especially in the morning or during long work hours. 

2. Social connections: Coffee shops have become a popular place for people to meet, socialize, and connect with others. The act of sharing a cup of coffee with friends or colleagues can help build relationships and foster a sense of community.

3. Mental health benefits: Studies have suggested that moderate coffee consumption may have positive effects on mental health, including reducing the risk of depression and improving cognitive function.

4. Taste and enjoyment: For many people, the taste and aroma of coffee are a source of pleasure and enjoyment. Coffee can be enjoyed in a variety of ways, from black to sweetened, and with different flavors and toppings.

5. Cultural significance: Coffee has a rich cultural significance in many countries and regions. It is often associated with social rituals, such as business meetings, family gatherings, and religious ceremonies.

What Causes Stomach Pain?

Stomach pain, also known as abdominal pain, can be caused by a variety of factors. Some common causes of stomach pain include:

1. Gastrointestinal disorders: Conditions such as irritable bowel syndrome (IBS), inflammatory bowel disease (IBD), gastroesophageal reflux disease (GERD), and peptic ulcer disease can cause stomach pain.

2. Food intolerance: Some people may experience stomach pain after consuming certain foods that they are intolerant to, such as lactose or gluten.

3. Infections: Bacterial or viral infections, such as gastroenteritis or food poisoning, can cause stomach pain.

4. Menstrual cramps: Women may experience stomach pain during their menstrual cycle.

5. Stress and anxiety: Stress and anxiety can cause stomach pain and discomfort.

6. Medications: Some medications can cause stomach pain as a side effect.

7. Hernias: A hernia is a bulge or protrusion of an organ or tissue through a weak spot in the abdominal muscles, which can cause stomach pain.

8. Other medical conditions: Other medical conditions such as appendicitis, gallstones, and pancreatitis can also cause stomach pain.

Why Does Coffee Make My Stomach Hurt?

why does coffee make my stomach hurt

Coffee is known to cause stomach pain or discomfort in some people. This can range from mild discomfort to severe pain. There are several factors that can contribute to this, including:

1. Caffeine: Caffeine is a stimulant that can increase the production of stomach acid, leading to irritation and discomfort. Additionally, caffeine can cause the muscles in the digestive system to contract, which can also contribute to stomach pain.

2. Acidity: Coffee is naturally acidic, which can irritate the lining of the stomach and cause pain. People who already have stomach ulcers or acid reflux may be particularly sensitive to the acidity in coffee.

3. Other compounds: Coffee contains other compounds besides caffeine and acid, such as chlorogenic acid, that can contribute to stomach pain in some people.

4. Pre-existing gastrointestinal conditions: People who have pre-existing gastrointestinal conditions such as irritable bowel syndrome (IBS), inflammatory bowel disease (IBD), or gastritis may be more susceptible to experiencing stomach pain from coffee.

Coffee Intolerance vs. Sensitivity

  • Coffee intolerance and sensitivity are two different things, although they can both result in similar symptoms. 
  • Coffee intolerance is a digestive disorder that occurs when the body is unable to properly digest coffee. This can be due to a lack of enzymes needed to break down coffee components, or due to an allergy to coffee. Symptoms of coffee intolerance may include stomach pain, bloating, diarrhea, and nausea.
  • On the other hand, coffee sensitivity refers to a person’s inability to tolerate the effects of coffee, such as caffeine or acidity. Coffee sensitivity can cause symptoms similar to those of coffee intolerance, such as stomach pain, but it is not caused by a digestive disorder. People who are sensitive to coffee may experience jitters, nervousness, or trouble sleeping in addition to stomach pain.
  • It’s important to note that coffee intolerance and sensitivity are not the same as an allergy to coffee. A coffee allergy is a rare condition that occurs when the immune system reacts to specific proteins found in coffee. Symptoms of a coffee allergy can include hives, itching, swelling, and difficulty breathing.
  • If you suspect that you may have a coffee intolerance, sensitivity, or allergy, it’s important to seek medical advice from a healthcare professional. They can help identify the underlying cause of your symptoms and recommend appropriate treatment or management strategies.

Tips & Tricks

To reduce the likelihood of experiencing stomach pain from coffee, individuals can try the following:

Here are some tips and tricks for managing stomach pain from coffee:

1. Choose the right coffee: Look for coffee with lower acidity levels, such as dark roast or coffee that has been cold brewed. These types of coffee may be better tolerated by those with sensitive stomachs.

2. Limit coffee consumption: Try to limit coffee intake to one or two cups per day. Consuming too much coffee can increase the likelihood of experiencing stomach pain.

3. Drink coffee with food: Drinking coffee with food can help buffer the acidity and reduce the likelihood of experiencing stomach pain.

4. Modify coffee preparation methods: If you are sensitive to acidity, try adding milk or non-dairy alternatives to your coffee. These can help neutralize some of the acidity. Additionally, consider using a low-acid coffee brewing method such as cold brew.

5. Consider decaf coffee: Decaf coffee contains significantly less caffeine than regular coffee, which can help reduce the likelihood of experiencing stomach pain.

6. Monitor other factors: Keep track of other factors that may contribute to stomach pain, such as stress, diet, and medication. Making changes to these factors may help reduce stomach pain from coffee.

7. Seek medical advice: If you experience persistent stomach pain despite modifications to your coffee consumption, it’s important to seek medical advice from a healthcare professional to rule out any underlying gastrointestinal conditions.

Remember, everyone’s body is different, and what works for one person may not work for another. It’s important to experiment with different methods and find what works best for you.

Alternatives to Coffee

If you’re looking for alternatives to coffee, here are some options to consider:

1. Herbal tea: Herbal teas, such as chamomile, peppermint, and ginger, are caffeine-free and can provide a calming and soothing effect.

2. Green tea: Green tea contains less caffeine than coffee, but still provides a boost of energy. It also contains antioxidants that can have health benefits.

3. Matcha: Matcha is a type of green tea that is ground into a powder and mixed with water. It contains more caffeine than regular green tea, but may provide a more sustained energy boost.

4. Yerba mate: Yerba mate is a type of tea that is popular in South America. It contains caffeine but also has other compounds that can provide a more balanced energy boost.

5. Golden milk: Golden milk is a beverage made with turmeric, ginger, and other spices mixed with milk or a non-dairy alternative. It provides a warming and comforting effect.

6. Water: Drinking water can help hydrate the body and provide a refreshing and energizing effect.

7. Fruit juice: Fruit juice can provide a natural source of sugar and energy without the caffeine content of coffee.


Q: Is coffee bad for your health?

A: Coffee in moderation has been shown to have some health benefits, such as reducing the risk of certain diseases and improving cognitive function. However, excessive coffee consumption or consuming coffee with added sugars and creamers can negate these benefits and even be harmful to health.

Q: How much coffee should I drink per day?

A: The recommended daily intake of caffeine is up to 400 mg per day for healthy adults, which is equivalent to about 4 cups of coffee. However, individual tolerance to caffeine can vary, so it’s important to monitor your own reactions and adjust your intake accordingly.

Q: Can I drink decaf coffee instead of regular coffee?

A: Decaf coffee may be a good option for those who are sensitive to caffeine or who want to reduce their caffeine intake. Decaf coffee still contains some caffeine, but in significantly smaller amounts than regular coffee.

Q: Does coffee dehydrate you?

A: While coffee is a diuretic and can increase urine production, it does not necessarily cause dehydration. Moderate coffee consumption can still contribute to overall hydration, but excessive coffee consumption may have a dehydrating effect.

Q: Can I drink coffee during pregnancy?

A: Moderate caffeine intake, such as one or two cups of coffee per day, is generally considered safe during pregnancy. However, excessive caffeine consumption during pregnancy can increase the risk of miscarriage or low birth weight. It’s always a good idea to consult with a healthcare provider for specific recommendations regarding caffeine intake during pregnancy.

Q: Is it okay to add sugar and creamer to coffee?

A: Adding sugar and creamer to coffee can add calories and negate some of the potential health benefits. It’s best to consume coffee black or with non-dairy alternatives such as almond milk or oat milk. If you prefer a sweeter taste, consider adding a natural sweetener such as honey or maple syrup in moderation.


After exploring the many possible causes of why coffee might make your stomach hurt, we can conclude that there is no single answer to this question. Everyone’s individual body responds differently to caffeine, and it could be a variety of different elements – from the amount you drink to the ingredients in your cup – that are causing these sensations.

If you find yourself feeling any kind of discomfort after drinking coffee, pay attention to potential influences, such as stress and diet, for insight into why this might be happening.

Additionally, visit with your health care provider if the issue persists or intensifies. So remember: although coffee may be a sought-after beverage for its energizing effects, it is essential to know and understand why it makes your stomach hurt so that you can enjoy a positive cup every single time.

Why does coffee make my stomach hurt? It’s important not only to ask the question but also take steps towards living in tune with how our bodies respond to various substances and conditions.

Leave a Comment