Why does my stomach hurt after drinking coffee?

Coffee lovers like me can’t stand without coffee in a day. Who can blame us? The aroma and taste of the coffee seem to become an addicting part of our routine. However, there are times that coffee bothers our stomachs. It creates an uncomfortable, upset feeling in our tummy. If this sounds like you, then you better keep reading.

Coffee is known to have significant benefits in the body. Its antioxidant properties help fight inflammation and neutralize free radicals- the unstable atoms that damage the body cells through oxidative stress. Results shown in a study suggest that coffee consumption can help prevent some chronic diseases such as liver disease, and Parkinson’s disease.

However, coffee also has disadvantages to the body, commonly because of too much consumption of caffeine. These include sleep problems, headaches, increased anxiety, and stomach issues. Indeed, it can cause problems in the stomach. Let’s go through the list and answer the question, ‘Why does my stomach hurt after drinking coffee?’

Why does my stomach hurt after drinking coffee?

1) Empty Stomach

Some of us would like to have coffee first thing in the morning. It is to keep us awake and energetic at the beginning of the day. Yet, we tend to drink coffee with an empty stomach before breakfast that causes our stomach to hurt. It’s because caffeine stimulates the production of acid in the stomach. The acid produced and the acid found in coffee interact in the stomach, which causes an imbalance. It triggers stomach ache and other symptoms such as heartburn and inflammation. Also, people who are prone to acid reflux would more likely experience it.

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What to do to prevent it?

We shouldn’t drink coffee on an empty stomach. We should eat breakfast, especially calcium-rich foods. Foods rich in calcium help neutralize the acid in the stomach and also the acid in coffee. Coffee can be consumed in the morning but make sure to make it part of a healthy breakfast. If stomach pain occurs after drinking coffee on an empty stomach, we can take an antacid to make the pain go away.

2) Gastrointestinal diseases

A stomachache, after drinking coffee can also be caused by gastrointestinal diseases. These diseases affect the gastrointestinal tract, including the esophagus, small intestine, stomach, large intestine, liver, gallbladder, pancreas, and rectum. The most common symptoms are:

  • bloating
  • diarrhea
  • heartburn
  • constipation
  • nausea
  • abdominal pain
  • IBS (Irritable Bowel Syndrome)

Caffeine stimulates intestinal motility. Thus, coffee can make these existing conditions worst.

What to do to prevent it?

Caffeine should be avoided, once you have one or more of these serious gastrointestinal diseases. Once you experience these symptoms, it’s better to consult a physician for a proper diagnosis. Also, consider switching to caffeine-free drinks or whatever alternative drinks the doctor recommends.

3) Milk and Cream Intake

If we are confident that we don’t have any serious gastrointestinal conditions, and we also do not drink coffee on an empty stomach, and yet, we still experience pain in the stomach, it can be because of the milk and cream added to our coffee. Lactose intolerant people are the ones who don’t have enough lactase- an enzyme responsible for sugar and milk breakdown. Thus, it may cause various symptoms such as bloating, diarrhea, and abdominal cramps.

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What to do to prevent it?

People who are lactose intolerant should reduce or stop milk and other dairy products intake. Hence, it’s better to drink pure coffee without additives. Alternatively, we can use soy milk as a substitute for milk or creamer as it does not contain lactose. Other than that, it is also said to have lower carbohydrate and sugar intake. Almond milk is also a good alternative. Aside from its zero lactose content, it also acts as an antioxidant and a good source of vitamins and minerals.


Drinking coffee has been part of many lives over the decades. Given its benefits to our body, I would say that it’s good to make it a part of our daily meals. However, too much coffee consumption can also have negative effects on our bodies. We should make sure to follow the recommended daily coffee intake to avoid incurring severe medical conditions. Remember, prevention is better than cure.

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