Caffeine and Constipation

Published on November 2, 2015

The most common causes of constipation are a disruption of your regular routine diet and inadequate fibre intake. Chronic constipation, however, can be due to dehydration, a poor diet, stress, not enough exercise, certain medications (strong painkillers, antidepressants), and the pressure of other life activities that would lead you to ignore the urge to have a bowel movement.

One type of substance, caffeine, which many of us consume on a daily basis, is linked to constipation – in a good way.

Caffeine & Constipation

Your digestive system is influenced by caffeine in various ways. Caffeine can serve as a diuretic, which stimulates your colon and quickens your digestive process. Because it is a diuretic, it can play a role in dehydration. Caffeine naturally occurs in foods like tea, coffee, and cocoa and has been used safely as a mild stimulant. Caffeine has been added to other products like cola-type sodas, energy drinks and energy shots, which the latter both are formulated caffeinated beverages.

Caffeine & Safety

Caffeine is a thoroughly reviewed ingredient in our food supply with it being used safely for centuries. Worldwide regulatory agencies like the Food Standards Australia New Zealand (FSANZ), European Food Safety Authority (EFSA) and UK’s Food Standards Agency (FSA) and the Food and Drug Administration in the United States (FDA) consider caffeine ( in appropriate use) to be acceptable and safe.

Effect of Coffee

According to a 2005 published study in the European Journal of Gastroenterology & Haematology, around 14 to 24 percent of individuals suffering with constipation claim that coffee (caffeine) softens their stools.

How long it takes your body to have a bowel motion after coffee consumption really depends on your body. Some people are more sensitive to the effects of caffeine than others are.

Your intestinal and colonic muscles begin moving when caffeine enters your system, and acts as an agent to advance your intestine’s contents toward your colon. This is a process known as peristalsis, which leads to loose stools since peristalsis decreases how long it takes your colon to absorb fluids from your stools.

Laxatives and Constipation

In the event lifestyle and diet changes and caffeine is not enough, laxatives like Dulcolax® can help. This is not the only laxative available. There are many different types of laxative tablets that can get the job done. Some work as a constipation treatment by making the stool more bulky. Others work as a constipation remedy by soften the stool and some attract water into the bowels. No matter which type you choose, it is best to consult with your doctor first to see which would be a better option for you. Not all work the same and some might be more advanced for the type of constipation you are experiencing.

Use only as directed. Always read the label. If symptoms persist, see your Healthcare Professional.

Learn about which Dulcolax product may be appropriate for you.

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