Coffee w/o Explosive Pooing

harry.timbershaftharry.timbershaft Registered User regular
edited October 2011 in Help / Advice Forum
Good morning!

Rewind twelve years ago. I was in New Orleans at a conference and ordered up a big cup of coffee from a restaurant in the hotel. Being a heavy coffee drinker, this wasn't unusual. What was unusual is what happened after I consumed my morning stimulant. I literally had to run back to my hotel room where I spent the next 48 hours releasing fecal fury on the poor toilet that had the misfortune of being installed in my room. At the time, I attributed this to bad food the night before, or at least a dramatic shift in my diet after arriving at the conference. Upon returning home, and having a cup of coffee at the office (as usual), I was greeted once again by the explosive poo monster in a manner which I had never experienced previously. Food aversion ingrained. No more coffee.

Present day. Last weekend I decided I wasn't going another winter without coffee. I love the taste of it. I love the smell of it. I love the warmth it provides on a cold winter morning or a crisp fall afternoon after a good long hike. I was going to drink coffee, damnit. So, on Saturday, I did. It seemed to settle well. No rumbling or pooing. Yes! I can drink coffee again! On Sunday morning I had another cup of warm liquid heaven. After this cup, I am greeted with significant cramping, and a large normal bowel movement. This, I think, is coffee doing what it is supposed to do. Until later that evening. My poo turned to water and I was relegated to the bathroom to rid myself of the contaminant. Luckily it passed quickly and everything had cleared by the time I went to bed.

So, shit. Has anyone experienced this when drinking coffee? Has anyone successfully resolved this problem?

Pertinent facts:

1. I can consume (extremely) large quantities of caffeine from other products without any problems
2. I can consume hot liquids like tea without any of the problems I experience when I drink coffee
3. I had my gallbladder removed several years before the first incident occurred
4. I am otherwise a healthy and normal person and don't take any medications besides a multivitamin

Thanks for your H/A, H/A!

harry.timbershaft on
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Posts

  • BobCescaBobCesca Registered User regular
    Just sounds like an intolerance, which can come on quickly with something you've never had a problem with before.

    Best thing? Just don't drink coffee. There's not really anything else you can do.

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  • ShogunShogun Hair long; money long; me and broke wizards we don't get along Registered User regular
    Supposedly (I say that because the scientific arguments go both ways) caffeine inhibits an enzyme in your gut that regulates mucosal secretions. Secretions rise as does the fluid in your bowels. If the amount of fluid in your bowel is higher than the amount that can be reabsorbed...well I think you know what happens next.

    Try drinking your coffee slower, drink smaller amounts in one sitting (particularly in the morning), and overall just drink less than you would or would like to.

  • ArbitraryDescriptorArbitraryDescriptor Registered User regular
    edited October 2011
    Coffee will give me stomach cramps in the morning from time to time, but it's usually pretty immediate and on an empty stomach. Sometimes this lands me in the bathroom, but most days it doesn't bother me at all. I usually presume it was related to what was already in my gut from the night before, be it too little to slow the absorption of the coffee, or too much of something that was already an unstable mix. Like you, soda tends to bother me less.

    But lots of other things can bother me in the morning that, for whatever reason, won't bother me the rest of the day. Like the bulk of my digestive tract hasn't woken up yet and has left my colon in charge of the decision making process. Then my colon just does what it knows and gets rid of it, because it isn't prepared for all that responsibility.

    What happens when you drink it in the evening or after lunch?

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  • NoisymunkNoisymunk Registered User regular
    What are you putting in the coffee?

    Good call!

    If you're putting milk or cream in your coffee, it could be that you've developed lactose intolerance. Very common for that to pop up out of nowhere.

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  • harry.timbershaftharry.timbershaft Registered User regular
    edited October 2011
    What are you putting in the coffee?

    Nothing - I like my coffee black.
    Best thing? Just don't drink coffee. There's not really anything else you can do.

    While that certainly has worked for the past twelve or so years, I'm hoping there's an alternative.
    What happens when you drink it in the evening or after lunch?

    Interesting. I hadn't thought about when I drink the coffee as having an appreciable impact on the outcome. On Saturday, come to think of it (and edited appropriately in the OP), I drank the coffee shortly after lunch. That's when I didn't have any issues. On Sunday, I had coffee first thing in the morning and it ended up causing problems (the immediate cramping and poops later in the day). While I don't want to test things at the office, for obvious reasons, I will try drinking a cup of coffee after lunch later in the week when I am working from home. I have a bottle of pepto on-hand, so I'm ready for the fallout if things go awry.

    If the problem is the coffee creating too acidic of an environment in my gut (due to stomach acid/bile production), I wonder if taking a PPI would help? I found some info on the Internet relating loose poops and coffee drinking with an over-production of bile. Certain PPIs have been shown to decrease bile production, which could be way out of whack in my body as a result of having my gallbladder removed. As an experiment, maybe I'll try taking something like Prevacid and giving it another go. Yes, I really am willing to take a pill every once in a while if it means I get to enjoy a cup of coffee. I like it that much, and my brief reintroduction has been glorious. It's like I've lost a good friend for all these years, only to find him and reconnect, and then find out that he has this shitty girlfriend that never lets him socialize.

    ...or maybe it's Lupus?

    harry.timbershaft on
  • Skoal CatSkoal Cat Registered User
    What happens when you drink decaf?

    ceres wrote: »
    Skoal Cat is correct.
  • harry.timbershaftharry.timbershaft Registered User regular
    edited October 2011
    Skoal Cat wrote:
    What happens when you drink decaf?

    I haven't tried drinking decaf. One of the reasons I like drinking coffee is for the caffeine, and I don't have problems with other beverages containing large amounts of caffeine (such as the huge Red Bull I drank this morning), but you bring up another scenario to test. I will also try drinking decaf and see if it causes the same problems. Maybe my body is able to absorb and process the caffeine better from coffee for some reason? Just a thought - I ain't no doctor or nothin'.

    harry.timbershaft on
  • FiggyFiggy Registered User regular
    I don't know the reason behind it, but I know plenty of people who get the shits from drinking coffee. It's not a question of whether or not you can handle your caffeine, it has to do with caffeinated coffee in particular.

    You may just not be able to drink it. You could try experimenting with different brands and methods and see what happens. Try instant, for example, although I've been told that could be much, much worse.

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  • CreidhesCreidhes Registered User
    If you can handle the caffeine, I'd also recommend giving black tea a chance. Some of the stronger blends make for a passable coffee substitute.

  • Kuroi OokamiKuroi Ookami Registered User regular
    I see you had your gallbladder removed several years before the first incident occurred. After my gallbladder came out, I started to develop for my first time ever, heartburn, and IBS over the next couple of years. Certain foods will trigger my IBS, like greasy foods. If I make something using ground beef and don't drain the hell out of it, I'm having an explosive time in the bathroom. If I add some butter to rice, again I'm back in the bathroom. I'm not much of a coffee drinker, it agitates my bladder, so I don't know if coffee is one of the things that can be a trigger like greasy food is for me due to the gallbladder. You may want to check into it though. If you have developed IBS, there are a number of triggers. Again, not sure if coffee is one of them, look into it. Also, try adding a dab of milk or creamer (they come flavoured if you'd like) to it, see if the combination makes any difference.

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  • schussschuss Registered User regular
    I have to quit coffee/start taking prilosec from time to time to "reset" my system, as I'm prone to too much acid. I'd say just temper the input and MAKE SURE you eat food prior to coffee in the morning. Coffee before food will fuck your shit up if you have a sensitive digestive tract.

  • KochikensKochikens Registered User regular
    I was just talking about this with a friend the other day! They mentioned that coffee has laxative properties, or something. I told him he was a silly goose (I don't drink coffee, though) but seeing this thread made me look it up. A quick google confirms that a lot of people consider coffee to work as a laxative for themselves.
    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Health_effects_of_coffee#Laxative.2Fdiuretic

    Coffee is also a powerful stimulant for peristalsis and is sometimes considered to prevent constipation. However, coffee can also cause excessively loose bowel movements. The stimulative effect of coffee consumption on the colon is found in both caffeinated and decaffeinated coffee.

    Practitioners in alternative medicine often recommend coffee enemas for "cleansing of the colon" due to its stimulus of peristalsis, although medicine has not proven any benefits of the practice.

    Try the decaf? It might not work, I'd bet on it not working. But it is worth a try, even if just to confirm. So sorry! Switch to tea.

  • ForarForar #432 Toronto, Ontario, CanadaRegistered User regular
    edited October 2011
    As someone who had his gallbladder removed nearly 7 years ago, from what I've heard it's not terribly uncommon for coffee to punch a figurative hole in your digestrive tract.

    48 hours of horror sounds significantly worse than I'm used to. Usually it's not a big deal when I have a large or two during the day. Sometimes I have a medium and 20 minutes later I'm on the can.

    Edit: I find tea gives me my morning fix with minimal (but not negligable) chance of the same effect, which is a nice compromise. Worth noting, I have my tea with milk and cream with coffee, so I'm not ruling out a measure of lactose intolerance developing for me either.

    And sometimes I'll find that diet pop will have the same effect as well, lending some possible ties to the caffeine content, I suppose, but at the same time that's usually tied to when I'm having pop and fatty food like pizza, so it could be coincidental.

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  • Evil_ReaverEvil_Reaver Registered User regular
    I have this conversation every time my best friend comes around. He and I get massive shits from coffee and it turns out that coffee, as mentioned above, has laxative properties. Some people don't have a problem with it but people like you, me, and my friend, do.

    It's not abnormal in the sense that there's something horribly wrong with you; you just got dealt a bad hand when it comes to your body's tolerance of the enzymes or oils (or whatever) that's in coffee.

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  • PaladinPaladin Registered User regular
    edited October 2011
    Try drinking more water, eating soluble fiber, and eating resistant starch (like unripe bananas, beans).

    This sounds counterintuitive, but if your intestines are in working order, the water will not make your diarrhea more watery, and my hypothesis is that it will reduce the osmotic potential or the drug concentration where it matters in the intestine. Insoluble fiber can also work as a reservoir for watery stool as well as stool that is too dry; it's kind of like a buffer. There are foods and drugs that inhibit the activity of the small intestine smooth muscle, but I wouldn't go for any of those. You might also want to eat something like a croissant or whatever along with your coffee to dilute it and to counter its acidity.

    You should talk with your primary care physician if you have insurance because of that gallbladder thing to rule out an unhealthy colon, or complications like the IBS mentioned earlier. I guarantee you that they have a barrage of questions about your bowel movements that will probably serve you better in the long run. If you decide to do that, make a mental note of pain, frequency, consistency, color, smell, etc like that, and do experimentation with other foods and beverages and activities to see whether that changes anything.

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  • MushroomStickMushroomStick Registered User regular
    Perhaps a dumb question, but have you tried different brands of coffee?

  • FantasmaFantasma Registered User regular
    edited October 2011
    This poo thing is quite normal to people who have developed a condition called IBS (Irritable Bowel Syndrome). Coffee irritates the intestines, this is why you are experiencing this.

    You should reduce the amount of coffe ( a glass is too much), but you don't necessary have to resign to coffee entirely. A cup mixed with low fat milk or slim milk can reduce the acidity, or if you prefer, you could add one or two teaspoons of Cremora.

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  • EntriechEntriech Registered User regular
    If it turns out to be a quantity thing, you might consider switching over to say, an Americano, which is an espresso shot with hot water poured on top. With appropriate dilution, you can approach the strength of regular coffee, but potentially with less dissolved coffee solids. Similarly a Latte might work, though if you're having intestinal trouble I'm not sure ingesting a ton of milk is in your best interests.

    You might also investigate cold brewed coffee, wherein coffee is steeped in iced or cool water for periods ranging from 6 to 24 hours. The net result is a strong coffee concentrate with much lower acidity than standard coffee. Mixing some of that with some hot water will also approximate a good cup of coffee, and the lower acid might help. The concentrate will keep in a fridge for around two weeks or so.

  • MagicToasterMagicToaster JapanRegistered User regular
    This OP made me laugh so hard at work. Seriously, I have no advice, but I wanted to tell you that you made me laugh with your writing.

  • jefe414jefe414 "My Other Drill Hole is a Teleporter" Mechagodzilla is Best GodzillaRegistered User regular
    Also, try just having a cup or two with a meal (breakfast, lunch, etc.). You had said you had no issue. Only drink it on those occasions for a week or so and see what happens?

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  • Eat it You Nasty Pig.Eat it You Nasty Pig. tell homeland security 'we are the bomb'Registered User regular
    Try to eat something with your coffee (preferably something fiber-y; cereal, bran muffin, etc.) This can help soak up the coffee and limit the irritation in your intestine, and if nothing else will make the shits more consistent and comfortable to pass.

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  • harry.timbershaftharry.timbershaft Registered User regular
    Lots of good info here - thanks for the responses, everyone.
    If you can handle the caffeine, I'd also recommend giving black tea a chance. Some of the stronger blends make for a passable coffee substitute.

    This is what I've been doing for the past ten years or so... a good strong black (or green) tea. I usually buy the high-quality loose leaf stuff and brew my own. Luckily there's a Teavana pretty close to where I just moved which sells all sorts of awesome (caffeinated) teas. I've never had a problem with tea, regardless of its strength or caffeine content.
    After my gallbladder came out, I started to develop for my first time ever, heartburn, and IBS over the next couple of years.

    The good news is that I don't have IBS, as a couple of posters have mentioned. This is something I've been cognizant of because I read that it is common in people who have their gallbladder removed. I really have no other (regular) bowel trouble beyond the coffee thing. I can eat a steak and am fine. I can eat fried chicken and am fine. I can eat a steak on top of fried chicken wrapped in bacon washed down with a glass of whiskey and am fine. I've not found anything else, and I eat all kinds of crazy food (I'm kind of a foodie), that sets off an episode like coffee does.

    Ok, so here's the plan for the next four days. I'm all stocked up on toilet paper, reading material, and am ready to rock.

    1) Try drinking full-strength coffee after lunch while there is still food in my stomach
    2) Try drinking decaf with my normal morning breakfast (usually a Clif Bar and a banana)
    3) Try drinking an Americano with my normal morning breakfast
    4) Trying drinking full-strength coffee mixed with something (in my case this will end up being a latte w/ soy milk)

    As to brand - it's all going to be Starbucks. There are two of them right across the street (in opposite directions) from where I live. I know it's not the best coffee and probably not the easiest on the stomach, but I consider it the "standard 'mercian coffee" at this point.

    Any other suggestions?
    This OP made me laugh so hard at work. Seriously, I have no advice, but I wanted to tell you that you made me laugh with your writing.

    Hey thanks! I find maintaining a sense of humor about the shitty (pun intended) stuff in life is what keeps me sane. :-)

  • hadokenhadoken Registered User regular
    I have a similar issue so I offer you my non-solution. If the problem can't be helped then just save the coffee for special occasions. I've got a similar problem with white Toblerone, which I love, so I only have it at Christmas and stuff.

    Allergic reactions and intolerances are worth it sometimes :)

  • SnorkSnork Registered User regular
    have you also tried experimenting with different roasts? i am all the fuck about coffee and recently started working as a barista, so unless i want to spent my entire shift pooing i've needed to ration myself somehow. what do you normally drink, french roast? it might be worth noting that the darker the roast, the less the caffeine, and darker roasts are often the most forceful, flavor wise. you might want to try something more columbian and lighter

  • harry.timbershaftharry.timbershaft Registered User regular
    I am happy to report good progress! I successfully consumed a soy latte yesterday afternoon with no ill effects and a decaf this morning with only a bit of minor discomfort. So, full strength coffee mid-afternoon and an Americano with breakfast are a go for sometime over the weekend. Thanks for your help, everyone - great ideas!

  • JebusUDJebusUD Adventure! Candy IslandRegistered User regular
    Switch to hot tea. It tastes really good and might have no bad effects. Plus it keeps you warm in the winter as requested.

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  • SliderSlider Registered User regular
    This happens to me, as well.

    In fact, the last time I had coffee a disastrous eruption ensued soon after.

    So, I don't drink coffee or, if I do, I don't drink very much of it.

    I have no other aversions, so I think this is literally coffee having it's way with me.

  • LewieP's MummyLewieP's Mummy Registered User regular
    I had to stop drinking caffeinated coffee about 11 years ago, as anti arthritis meds I was on triggered a stomach ulcer, and coffee made it dreadful. I switched to decaff, as I love the taste of coffee. For the last several years I've been on a daily PPI - Losec/Lansoprasole, but that's so I can take shed-loads of pain meds for CFS.
    PPIs have some unpleasant side effects, so I wouldn't recommend taking them just so you could drink caffeinated coffee. I can drink caffeinated coffee now, but only after I've eaten, and only if its milky, otherwise my stomach still hurts, so I tend to stick to decaf.

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  • Romero ZombieRomero Zombie Registered User regular
    I would occasionally get the coffee shits too - but then i found out I also occasionally got the taco shits, burger shits, bread shits, water shits, until I was eventually diagnosed with IBS :) I know you don't have IBS, but at least for me anyway, taking a pro biotic has helped immensely.

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  • harry.timbershaftharry.timbershaft Registered User regular
    PPIs have some unpleasant side effects

    Would you mind sharing how these affect you? Taking a PPI to assist in the consumption of coffee is something I am considering.

  • Skoal CatSkoal Cat Registered User
    No. If you love coffee so much that you'd try to take a medication to benefit from its side effect, you need to cut back on loving coffee so much.

    ceres wrote: »
    Skoal Cat is correct.
  • DhalphirDhalphir don't you open that trapdoor you're a fool if you dareRegistered User regular
    I haven't read the whole thread, just the first few responses and the OP.

    Try cutting your coffee back to later in the day. First try no coffee before lunch. Then try no coffee before 10am.

    I find that if I have a cup of coffee with breakfast, I feel very very awful for most of the day. My wife is the same, but worse.

    However, I can quite easily have a cup of coffee at 9:30am-10am (and frequently do) and enjoy it and even look forward to it.

    I have no idea what the medical explanation for this is for.

  • harry.timbershaftharry.timbershaft Registered User regular
    Skoal Cat wrote:
    No. If you love coffee so much that you'd try to take a medication to benefit from its side effect, you need to cut back on loving coffee so much.

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  • mtsmts Dr. Robot King Registered User regular
    PPIs have some unpleasant side effects

    Would you mind sharing how these affect you? Taking a PPI to assist in the consumption of coffee is something I am considering.

    they can give you megaconstipation, bloating, back and joint pains and headaches. at least that is on the short list of symptoms i get from that class of meds

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  • SyphyreSyphyre A Dangerous Pastime Registered User regular
    mts wrote:
    PPIs have some unpleasant side effects

    Would you mind sharing how these affect you? Taking a PPI to assist in the consumption of coffee is something I am considering.

    they can give you megaconstipation, bloating, back and joint pains and headaches. at least that is on the short list of symptoms i get from that class of meds

    I've gotten headaches myself when I was on PPI for a brief period. Not worth it. At all. Also it could also cause the exact same symptoms the coffee gives you.

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  • LewieP's MummyLewieP's Mummy Registered User regular
    I get fluid retention - my legs swell, my knees become tight and bending them is hard, my ankles disappear and my feet get fat. I look like I have old lady legs. This is not something I would put up with just to drink caffeinated coffee, but because its so I can take pain meds and anti spasmodics without triggering an ulcer, I put up with it. If I sit with my legs raised, it helps, and I try not to walk far, cos that makes my legs even more swollen. I can't walk far without pain or muscle spasms (hence the anti spasmodics) anyway, so its no great loss.

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  • harry.timbershaftharry.timbershaft Registered User regular
    Thanks for all of the information, folks! It looks like I can consume a Grande Americano from Starbucks without issues, as long as it is not the first thing I have in the morning. I throw some soy milk in there for a creamy treat every once in a while. Thanks so much for all of the assistance!

    Mods, this thread is ok to lock. I would hate for their to be more discussion surrounding my bowel movements than necessary.

  • linkzinglinkzing Registered User new member
    I out of nowhere got struck with this same syndrome involving coffee out of nowhere. Traveled to my brother's house in Burbank I live right outside of Las Vegas. Been an avid coffee drinker for the last 13 plus years and arrived at my brother's house at night woke up with my family and enjoyed a fresh-brewed cup of coffee absolutely delicious locally roasted coffee. That prompt me put me in the restroom for the next couple hours. Poor poor toilet. I have always had issues after that in the morning trying to drink a cup of coffee in fact it even turned worst for a while we're if I drink coffee I would dry heave I've been to multiple types of tests run. Resulting in a hiatal hernia out of nowhere which explained the dry heaving. But you and I my friend seem to have a very similar issue going on on the back end of my issues. Drinking coffee in the afternoon certainly seems to help. I like someone's idea on decaf because I'm drinking coffee generally to wake up in the morning I like the caffeine. I've also concluded the type of roast and consistency made a difference dark roast have more acidity where light roast Sumatra very low acidity and seem to be easier on my my poor colon who was left state of unwanted responsibility. I'm just decides to slap the big red f it button. Anytime I drink coffee before 1 ish.I have meetings with a couple of doctors after I speak with them and review the tests I'll get back to you guys.

  • linkzinglinkzing Registered User new member
    Are ppi's anti acids? Like zantac 150 the little blue pill for acid reflux. Omeprazole 20mg. And if so if you take these for a long time can they cause back pain.

This discussion has been closed.