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The Rollin' RN's

Does Coffee Really Aid in Constipation?

Frequently, a question arises in our SCI group about constipation and the overwhelming response is to drink a cup of coffee. But why coffee?

A 1998 study found that caffeinated coffee, decaf coffee, and a 1,000-calorie meal all stimulated the colon. However, caffeinated coffee stimulated the colon 23 percent more than decaf coffee and 60 percent more than plain water. But if all of these items stimulate the colon, is it really the java contributing to the effects?

Coffee stimulated colon activity just as much as a 1000 calorie meal and while the effect is lessened with decaffeinated coffee, it’s not gone. Decaf coffee increased colonic activity more than water, but less than caffeinated coffee.

Another study found that ingesting caffeine led to stronger anal sphincter contractions, and an increased desire to defecate. A hormone called Gastrin produces stimulation by both caffeinated and decaffeinated coffee. Gastrin aids in digestion but it also may be due to gastrocolic reflex. This reflex is triggered by the stomach stretching when you eat or drink something and causes the colon to increase its motility. It’s essentially your body trying to push old food out of your intestines to make room for new food.

Bottom line….it may not be the effects of a cup of coffee in the morning but the body waking up for another day.

Enjoy your new day!

It’s all good, so keep on rollin’ Patty, BSN, RNC, and Roberta, RN The Rollin’ RNs ™



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