IBS And Coffee: The Do’s And Don’ts For A Happy Tummy And A Happy You

Share this article:

Coffee lovers might be able to enjoy this beverage depending on how severe their condition is and in which ways IBS affect their digestive system. If you’re facing a constipation-based IBS, you could still drink coffee in moderation. However, if it’s diarrhea-based, you have to limit the intake or eliminate it. Observe how much caffeine intake affects you. You should also control the acidic nature of coffee by focusing on the roasting, brewing, and grinding levels. Try limiting your intake for a couple of months, and if it still affects you, replace it with other suitable options such as tea, decaf coffee, lactose-free milk, and so on.

Even the thought of giving up their morning jolt might seem like a life-and-death situation for coffee lovers. Those who indulge in it as a routine find it hard to give up, even if suffering from a condition that requires them to do so.

Irritable bowel syndrome is one such condition where your digestive system is greatly affected generally due to your lifestyle and leads to problematic digestive issues.

While there’s no cure for IBS, is giving up on coffee one way to deal with it? Or can you indulge in a cup or two of heavenly bliss? Let’s find out.

What are the symptoms of irritable bowel syndrome?

Suffering from irritable bowel syndrome in adults occurs in different ways:

  • Stomach pain or cramps
  • Bloating
  • Diarrhea
  • Constipation

When you find yourself suffering from these issues, you face the harsh reality of this condition.

Even though you try to find out one major issue causing this condition to flare up, you won’t have any conclusive problem on your hand.

But no particular reason causes the condition in the first place or worsens it over time.

Along with the issues mentioned above, you might also suffer from the following:

  • Farting
  • Passing mucus from your bottom
  • Tiredness and a lack of energy
  • Feeling sick
  • Backache
  • A problem in peeing or peeing too often, along with a feeling you can’t empty your bladder completely
  • You are not always in control of your bowel movement

Living like this might seem like you’re in hell, and you wish to find one such thing on which you could blame this condition.

Does coffee cause irritable bowel syndrome?

Drinking coffee could trigger irritable bowel syndrome due to its acidic nature or the fact that you use dairy or sugar.

It could trigger diarrhea which is one of the symptoms of this condition. Caffeine can speed up bowel movement; if you already have a healthy gut, you could face diarrhea.

In such cases, coffee can make the condition worse, although if you’re facing constipation as a symptom, then coffee could help.

Speeding up bowel movement

Coffee helps in stimulating gastrin release and gastric acid secretion.

Although it can’t be used as a treatment for constipation, it is for some people who drink coffee and help move their bowels faster.

So coffee could be troublesome if you already have a good digestive system, turning it into diarrhea.

Acidic nature

Some people believe drinking coffee could also cause acidity and that caffeine is responsible for this issue.

Several factors, including roasting duration, brewing method, and fineness of the grind, decide the acidic nature.

You must consider these three factors because there’re ways to ensure acidity can be controlled at these levels.

A woman is holding a cup of iced coffee that she made at home

It might cause acid reflux, gastric ulcers, and irritable bowel syndrome if controlled.

But if you’re a coffee lover, you can control the acidity by following a few ways.

This includes:

  • Choosing dark over light roasts
  • Drinking cold instead of hot brew
  • Increasing brewing time, such as by using a French press
  • Opting for a coarser grind
  • Brewing at a lower temperature

Can you have coffee with IBS?

You can still drink about three cups of coffee, but it depends on your situation.

If you’re suffering from diarrhea, then coffee won’t be too suitable for you. Instead, you might have to reduce the amount you drink or stop altogether.

If you’re facing acidity as an outcome, you can control this symptom by changing how you take your coffee. Pay attention to the roasting, brewing, and ground size.

Please take note of your daily intake and see how it affects your digestive system. Then, try lowering the amount and see how much coffee is tolerable for you.

Coffee substitutes for IBS

If coffee is intolerable, you could try other alternatives and substitute the regular jolt with other beverages.

Giving up coffee does sound horrible, and in the beginning, your body will resist, but in the long run, it is beneficial if giving up on it is more useful for your irritable bowel syndrome.

1. Diet Coke

Diet coke also contains caffeine, but the impact is lesser than coffee. Keep a lookout for the amount of sweetener being consumed.

But you can definitely keep it an option when you want to consume something different.

2. Drink tea

Drinking tea is another alternative to coffee. There are different flavors, and you could try experimenting with other brands and kinds of teas.

Sometimes we’re more used to sipping on something hot, so it could be a nice change for your digestive system than coffee.

3. Try decaffeinated coffee

Decaffeinated coffee will give you the same feel but without caffeine. It might taste or smell a bit different, but it’s still better than other alternatives for coffee lovers.

A woman is drinking decaffeinated coffee while she works to prevent her IBS symptoms.

About 6 ounces cup of decaf contains 0 to 7 mg of caffeine. Apart from that, it has other health benefits you could explore, such as:

  • Reduced risk of type 2 diabetes.
  • It may protect against age-related mental declines, such as reducing the risk of Alzheimer’s and Parkinson’s.
  • A significant reduction in acid reflux and rectal cancer.

How can I make my IBS better?

It’s not caffeine that you have to give up to improve your condition, but it’s essential to take a look at your lifestyle, including what you eat, to make things better for yourself.

Here are some things you can do:

  1. Keep a check on what you eat and items that are making your condition worse by keeping track of them.
  2. Consume homemade food only, as eating outside food may cause digestive issues and make your condition worse.
  3. Indulge in exercises daily, even if it’s for 30 minutes
  4. Take fiber-rich food if constipation is a significant symptom
  5. Stay hydrated by drinking water throughout the day
  6. Get good sleep of 7 to 8 hours

Here are a few things you should avoid or don’t do:

  1. Don’t skip your meals, and have food on time each time
  2. When eating, chew slowly to help digest it faster and take small bites
  3. Avoid spicy or fatty foods as much as possible
  4. Avoid alcohol
  5. Don’t drink coffee or tea if it’s not suited to your body, or limit the quantity as you see fit.
  6. Avoid gluten if you’re facing diarrhea as a symptom, as it could help stabilize your condition.
  7. Avoid high-gas foods

Ultimately, refer to a dietician if you find it challenging to make changes yourself, as they’re better apt to deal with the condition.


What are some foods that trigger IBS?

If you have diarrhea-based IBS, then you should avoid the following food items:

– Fried foods
– Fatty foods
– Dairy for lactose intolerant people
– Foods containing wheat if you’re gluten sensitive
– Too much fiber
– Chocolate
– Carbonated drinks
– Caffeine
– Alcohol

Foods that make your symptoms worse if you have constipation-based IBS:

– Processed foods
– Refined grains
– Dairy
– Too much protein
– Carbonated drinks
– Caffeine
– Alcohol

Many doctors recommend their patients follow the low FODMAP diet, so do talk to a dietician about it. 

Does coffee cause bloat in IBS?

f you’re a coffee lover facing IBS, you might need to reevaluate your relationship with coffee.

For some people, coffee might cause acidity, bloating, diarrhea, and other digestive issues. Especially if drinking coffee on an empty stomach will do more harm than good.

Never consume coffee without having a good meal before this beverage, and if you’re still suffering, try reducing the quantity or eliminating it from your diet completely.

What is the best drink for IBS?

Coffee might trigger IBS for some people, so they might try switching to other options as they are much better to be consumed for this condition.

Beverages such as iced tea, different kinds of milk, green or herbal tea, kombucha or yogurt drinks, smoothies, and juices are some excellent options to consider.

Water is obviously the best option out of them all.


  • https://www.healthline.com/health/is-coffee-a-laxative
  • https://www.techlifeland.com/make-coffee-less-acidic/
  • https://www.medicalnewstoday.com/articles/caffeine-sensitivity
  • https://www.mayoclinic.org/medical-professionals/digestive-diseases/news/the-role-of-lifestyle-related-treatments-for-ibs/mac-20431272#:~:text=Caffeine%20and%20fat,contractions%20in%20patients%20with%20IBS.

Share this article:

Was this article helpful?
Saumya Malik
I'm an ardent follower of everything good for the health and wellness of body and mind. I am passionate about providing effective solutions to general health and mental well-being issues and wants to help people achieve the same. When I'm not writing, you can find me curled up with a good book in a corner or cooking as a form of good mental therapy.

We’re proud to be a team of writers who are truly passionate about all things health.

Coming together from all parts of the world, we share a common goal of helping serve many with our comprehensive research and clear writing style. Learn more.

Nutrition & Diet