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Why Does Coffee Make My Stomach Hurt: Understanding the Causes and Prevention

Coffee is a popular beverage enjoyed for its rich taste and invigorating effects. Some people love taking a cup of coffee in the morning to kick-start their day, while others prefer boosting their energy levels in the evenings.

However, while coffee might be a favorite beverage for many, it isn't without a dark side. What do I mean? Some individuals experience stomach discomfort after consuming coffee. This can be quite distressing, especially for those who love making coffee.

But why would coffee cause your stomach to hurt? And what would you do to remedy these effects?

Let's find out:

What is Gastritis?

Gastritis is a condition characterized by the inflammation or eroding of the stomach lining. Usually, the stomach lining, also known as the gastric mucosa, plays a vital role in protecting the stomach from the harsh digestive acids and enzymes it produces. However, when the lining becomes inflamed, it can result in a range of uncomfortable symptoms.

There are several factors that can cause gastritis. One common cause is the Helicobacter pylori (H. pylori) bacteria, which is responsible for a significant number of gastritis cases. H. pylori can infect the stomach lining and trigger an immune response, leading to inflammation.

Besides bacterial infections, gastritis can also be caused by certain medications, such as nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drugs (NSAIDs) like aspirin and ibuprofen. Prolonged use of these medications can irritate the stomach lining and disrupt its protective barrier, potentially leading to inflammation.

Lastly, excessive alcohol consumption can also contribute to gastritis. Alcohol can also irritate your stomach's lining and cause inflammation, especially when consumed in large quantities or over a long period of time. If left untreated, gastritis can lead to complications such as nausea, bloating, stomach ulcers, bleeding, and an increased risk of stomach cancer.

Reasons Why Coffee Causes your Stomach to Hurt

Stomach upsets caused by coffee

Here are the main reasons behind coffee-induced stomach upsets.

1. Acidity

Coffee naturally contains acids that contribute to its distinct taste and aroma. The two primary acids found in coffee are chlorogenic acid and quinic acid.

When you consume coffee, these acids can have an impact on the production of gastric acid in the stomach. Gastric acid, also known as stomach acid, is responsible for breaking down food and aiding in digestion.

However, excessive production or an imbalance of gastric acid can lead to discomfort and irritation. This increase in stomach acidity can result in several adverse effects, including stomach irritation, heartburn, and acid reflux.

For individuals who are more sensitive to acidity or already have underlying stomach issues like gastritis, the high acidity levels in coffee can exacerbate their symptoms. The increased production of gastric acid can further irritate the already inflamed stomach lining, leading to heightened discomfort and digestive issues.

2. Drinking Coffee on an Empty Stomach

Consuming coffee on an empty stomach can be particularly troublesome for individuals prone to gastritis. Without any food to buffer the effects, the acidic nature of coffee can directly affect the stomach lining, leading to irritation and discomfort.

Usually, when you have gastritis, it means that your stomach lining is inflamed or eroded. As such, the acids found in coffee will undoubtedly cause pain and discomfort in the stomach walls.

Now, when the stomach is empty, the effects can get even worse. This is because food can act as a buffer to reduce the effects of the acids. Without it, the stomach lining is left exposed and vulnerable.

3. Caffeine

Why does coffee make my stomach hurt

Caffeine, a natural stimulant found in coffee, can have an impact on the digestive system. While it's known to increase alertness and provide a temporary energy boost, it can have both positive and negative effects on your digestive system.

One of the effects of caffeine on the digestive system is its stimulatory effect on the muscles in the gastrointestinal tract. Caffeine can increase the contractions of the digestive muscles, including those in the stomach and intestines. These contractions help propel food through the digestive system.

However, while these contractions are beneficial, excessive stimulation can lead to stomach irritation and discomfort. They can speed up the movement of food through the digestive tract, potentially causing incomplete digestion, which in turn results in bloating, cramping, and diarrhea.

4. Bad Beans

The quality of coffee beans can significantly impact the likelihood of experiencing stomach upsets. For instance, when coffee beans are of poor quality or contaminated, they may contain substances that can irritate the delicate lining of the stomach. This might lead to gastritis or digestive discomfort.

Coffee beans can be compromised in various ways. The first instance is when the beans are harvested improperly, processed inadequately, or stored in unfavorable conditions. These factors can contribute to the growth of molds, fungi, or bacteria on the beans. 

Contaminated coffee beans may contain mycotoxins, which are toxic substances produced by certain types of molds. These mycotoxins have the potential to irritate the stomach lining and disrupt the digestive process. Ultimately, this will result in stomach upsets and other gastrointestinal symptoms.

Besides mycotoxins, low-quality coffee beans may also contain excessive amounts of other compounds, such as tannins. Tannins are a type of polyphenol that can contribute to the bitter taste of coffee. However, when consumed in high quantities, tannins can have an astringent effect and irritate the stomach lining, leading to discomfort.

How to Prevent Experiencing Gastritis after Taking Coffee

Hot coffee

While coffee-induced gastritis can be bothersome, there are steps you can take to reduce the likelihood of stomach discomfort. Here are some preventive measures to consider:

1. Try Cold Brew

Cold brew coffee is prepared by steeping coffee grounds in cold water for an extended period. This brewing method produces a smoother, less acidic coffee.

Switching to cold brew can be beneficial for individuals with sensitive stomachs, as it tends to be gentler on the digestive system.

2. Take Decaf

Decaffeinated coffee contains significantly less caffeine than regular coffee. Choosing decaf can reduce the stimulating effect on the digestive system and potentially minimize the risk of gastritis.

The good thing is that decaf coffee still provides the familiar taste and aroma of coffee. This meant that you could enjoy your favorite cup of Joe without the potential side effects of caffeine.

3. Opt for Low Acid Coffee

As seen earlier, the acidity level in your coffee can be the cause of your stomach woes. Therefore, opting for low-acidity coffee can do you some good.

Some coffee brands offer low-acid or "stomach-friendly" options. These coffees are processed in a way that reduces the overall acidity levels.

Opting for this low-acid coffee can be a suitable alternative for individuals who experience stomach discomfort after consuming regular coffee.

4. Consider Gold Coffee

Gold coffee, also known as gold-filtered coffee, is a unique type of coffee that undergoes a special filtration process using real 24-karat gold. This filtration method aims to remove potentially harmful compounds and reduce the acidity of the coffee.

Gold coffee is known for its smooth and less acidic profile, making it a potentially suitable choice for those with sensitive stomachs.

5. Go the Eat Your Coffee Way

Another excellent option is exploring other coffee alternatives. One such alternative is to go the Eat Your Coffee way. Eat Your Coffee bars offer a unique and stomach-friendly coffee alternative that allows coffee enthusiasts to enjoy the flavors and energy boost without the potential digestive discomfort.

Eat Your Coffee provide a range of products that combine the goodness of coffee with wholesome ingredients. This way, they offer a convenient and healthier alternative to traditional coffee beverages.

For instance, Eat Your Coffee bars are crafted with real, ethically sourced coffee as the key ingredient. Alongside the coffee, these bars contain nutritious ingredients like dates, oats, and nut butter. The combination of these ingredients offers a balanced blend of energy, fiber, and essential nutrients, making them a great option for those seeking an alternative to regular coffee.

You should also note that Eat Your Coffee energy bars are low in acidity. This way, they will not cause any stomach upsets, as seen in regular coffee. In fact, they are all vegan, organic, and gluten-free. And for those who dislike the jittery effect of coffee, these bars offer the best solution.  

Use discount code TRY to enjoy a FREE sample pack. Only pay $3 shipping cost. 


Is it normal for coffee to cause stomach discomfort?

Yes, some individuals may experience stomach discomfort after consuming coffee. Factors such as acidity, caffeine, and individual sensitivity can contribute to these issues.

Can switching to decaf coffee help alleviate stomach upsets?

Yes, switching to decaf coffee can reduce the stimulating effects of caffeine on the digestive system and potentially minimize the risk of gastritis.

Are there any specific coffee brands known for being stomach-friendly?

Yes, some coffee brands offer low-acid or stomach-friendly options that are processed to reduce acidity levels. These can be worth exploring for individuals with sensitive stomachs.

What is gold coffee?

Gold coffee, or gold-filtered coffee, undergoes a unique filtration process using real gold. The process aims to reduce acidity and remove potentially harmful compounds. It is thus known to be stomach-friendly.




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