Less Monday, Less Coffee
#Tired #JustTired. These hashtags are two that you will see me use often. Most people that are tired can just exercise more, get more sleep, eat better food, or drink caffeine to get energized. As an IBS sufferer, no matter what I do, my energy is zapped. Throw in hypothyroidism and Chronic Fatigue Syndrome, some days, I’m not sure how I peel myself out of bed.
Coffee: the ultimate IBS curse
The ultimate curse is that IBS is exhausting, but I'm not supposed to drink caffeine! I adore coffee, but I'm not supposed to drink it. Most people say more coffee, less Monday. I say “less Monday, I can only drink coffee if I want stomach spasms and other IBS symptoms.” I feel like you should get an award for not drinking caffeine on Monday.
Who drinks coffee? Everybody
Every average Joe has a cup of Joe on Monday mornings, but IBS sufferers may have to suffer if they want to partake in coffee drinking. Coffee can really wreak havoc on your digestive system. I have noticed that if desperate times call for desperate measures and I do have to drink caffeine, green tea is the easiest on my stomach, and does give me a little energy boost. I will mix Matcha powder (finely ground powder of specially grown and processed green tea) in my smoothies, or make a Matcha powder, almond milk, iced latte.
Why is coffee so bad for IBS?
So, why are coffee and other caffeinated beverages so bad for the IBS sufferer? First of all, caffeine, especially coffee, causes stomach spasms. Caffeine in coffee can increase peristalsis, the contraction of the muscles in the intestines, and causes increased secretion of acid in the stomach. The acidity in coffee upsets the small intestine. Coffee, even the decaffeinated kind, can stimulate the distal colon, which helps push waste out of your body more quickly. It’s believed that the acidity in coffee is the key culprit of this. Coffee contains chlorogenic acid, a compound that triggers higher stomach acid levels and higher production of gastric acid.
There’s another culprit in coffee that can release the hormones that aid in digestion, which can speed up bowel movements. If you suffer from IBS-Diarrhea, that’s the last thing that you want to do! Hearing that coffee aids in digestion, you may be thinking coffee is good for IBS-Constipation, but below, we will look into why it’s not.
Coffee also elevates stress hormones, making your heart beat fast, increases your blood pressure, and sends your body into a fight or flight response. Many IBS sufferers suffer from anxiety, and caffeine can make anxiety symptoms worse. According to some research, caffeine can trigger a full-on panic attack, starting with sweaty palms, a pounding heart, and ringing ears. Everyday Health even says that the caffeine’s jittery effects on your body are similar to those of a frightening event! It can also make you feel nervous, moody, and keep you up all night. That’s just not something an IBS sufferer can afford.
Caffeine can affect the body in many ways, and for an IBS sufferer, the effects are less than favorable. Everyone’s IBS triggers are different, but coffee is one of the number one triggers of IBS, so beware.
Sometimes, you may have to give in and have that cup of Joe to make it through the day, but don’t be surprised if it sends your IBS symptoms soaring, along with you anxiety and heart rate!
Do you live with any sleep disorders (eg. insomnia, RLS, sleep apnea) in addition to IBS?