Radiation enteritis

Can coffee worsen irritable bowel syndrome?

Irritable bowel syndrome (IBS) is one of the common digestive conditions that affect many individuals all over the globe. The symptoms of this digestive condition vary from one individual to another as well as the stimuli that can worsen the symptoms. In most cases, a phase of trial-and-error is usually needed to determine if coffee is the culprit for those with IBS, but it is one of the beverages that must be avoided.

Overview on irritable bowel syndrome

The exact cause of irritable bowel syndrome is still vague and the intestines of the individual with the condition appear normal upon examination. It is clear however, that the symptoms manifest once the muscles in the intestinal tract contract either rapidly or slower than usual. The typical symptoms are mainly focused on the GI tract such as the following:

  • Gas
  • Abdominal cramps
  • Bloating
  • Diarrhea or constipation or alternating episodes of both

    Irritable bowel syndrome
    The pain is usually relieved once the individual had a bowel movement.
  • Mucus in the stool

The pain is usually relieved once the individual had a bowel movement. Most cases of irritable bowel syndrome can also have mental symptoms such as anxiety and some have diminished levels of serotonin in the brain which is commonly linked with depression.

What are the possible irritants?

Some of the risk factors linked with the start of irritable bowel syndrome include the following:

  • Diet low in fiber
  • Overusing laxatives
  • Emotional stress
  • Infectious diarrhea
  • Certain forms of bowel inflammation

There are various foods that have been identified as irritants to the condition which include the following:

  • Artificial sweeteners
  • Fatty foods
  • Dairy products
  • Chemical additives
  • Gluten
  • Alcohol

In a study conducted, there are 4 factors that are likely to trigger issues such as chocolates, insoluble fiber, caffeine and nuts. On the other hand, it tends to vary from one individual to another.

Issues with coffee

Since caffeine is present in coffee, it can trigger issues for those who have irritable bowel syndrome because it promotes peristalsis or contraction of the intestinal muscles that triggers the increased generation of stomach acid.

Even though caffeine is the main culprit, it was discovered in one study that 2 other components present in coffee namely catechol and N-alkanoly-5-hydroxytryptamides are capable of increasing the stomach acid production. It simply means that even decaffeinated coffee can cause issues among those who have IBS.

Possible solutions

It is vital to determine whether coffee either decaffeinated or regular can cause issues among those who have IBS. In most cases, a trial-and-error approach is needed. The ingredients that are typically added to coffee such as artificial sweeteners and dairy products can also trigger problems. With this in mind, the individual should also consider the possibility of eliminating these as well.

If the individual experiences aggravated symptoms every time coffee is consumed, it is recommended to switch to an herbal alternative.

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