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Bloating and Constipation: Side effects of Coffee
May 3, 2014

What are the side effects of drinking coffee good or bad. I drink 4 or 5 cups a day I often feel bloated and constipated could it be the coffee? The virus is ,undetected cd4 is 700. Im on Truvada,Norvir,Atazor and Wellbutrin for depression. I exercise 5-6 days a week and eat healthy please help

Response from Mr. Vergel

Coffee can be an irritant to the stomach lining if consumed in large quantities which can worsen bloating issues. In most cases it can cause loose stools (not constipation).

Constipation can be caused by low fiber and water intake, certain medications that decrease gut motility (transit time of food through our gastrointestinal track), and stress.

Some foods like coffee and chocolate can stimulate the digestive tract and cause a buildup of gas to occur, resulting in bloating. Meals that are high in fat are often too hard for the system to digest and can stimulate spasms and bloating. In addition, foods that are extremely hot or cold can draw air inside as they are being eaten. Bubble gum or bubbly beverages also cause a buildup of air that results in excessive gas and bloating, as does smoking. Foods like beans, cabbage, hummus, cauliflower, broccoli, cabbage and others can cause gas that can worsen bloating. Water retention is another that can be involved in feeling bloated and having a distension of the gut.

Some people taking antidepressants like Wellbutrin may experience constipation. But these medications are important to adhere to, so ways to improve bowel transit time are important for people to use so that they can stay on their antidepressants.

There may also be a combination of factors involved:

1- Water retention created by hormone, liver or other issues. Drinking at least 6-8 glasses of water a day can actually help to keep your kidneys flushed and happy.

2- Refined carbohydrate (low fiber, high simple sugars) intolerance due to impaired glucose tolerance and increased insulin levels after we eat.

3- Deficiencies in digestive enzymes

4- Infection with H. Pylori in your stomach

5- Gut inflammation and gastritis due to infections or illness

6- Food intolerance or allergies. Gluten and milk product intolerance are usually the most common.

7- Beneficial gut bacteria imbalance

8- Hormone imbalances like high estradiol in men.

I used to have lots of bloating in the past which has now gotten a lot better since the following changes:

1- I started to eat more fiber rich foods, lowering refined carbs containing wheat/sugar and eliminating milk products except aged cheese and real Greek yogurt. Fiber-rich foods tends to lower gut inflammation and promote healthy gut bacteria. But when increasing fiber intake, do it slowly until your gut gets used to it.

2- I was diagnosed with H Pylori infection in my stomach (they do this via an urea breath test) that was treated with antibiotics. I replenished my friendly bacteria with probiotics after the antibiotics.

3- I focused on avoiding excessive coffee (one cup a day is enough) and spicy foods. I avoid sodas like a plague also. These liquids can be very irritating to the gut mucosa. Green tea is definitely a better choice than coffee.

4- I use probiotic supplements and one serving of sugar free Greek yogurt daily.

5- I discovered that chewing on dried ginger bits that I buy at the grocery store where the bulk nuts and grains are (most regular supermarkets have this option. Some cities with Whole Foods and Trader Joe's also do). Ginger is well known for anti-inflammatory and gut inflammation properties.

6- I switched to eating smaller meals more frequently and not having a big dinner before bed also help tremendously. Our digestive system may be able to better handle smaller meals. This is also good to maintain better glucose levels during the day and to avoid overeating in one sitting. And remember that breakfast is the most important meal of the day. Read this article.

7- I noticed exercise keeps my excessive body water to a minimum also (I use the ring test. My ring is tight when I walk in the gym and lose when I walk out).

You can also try over the counter stool softeners once in a while.

If nothing works, ask your doctor to refer you to a gastroenterologist to perform an upper GI endoscopy.

I hope these tips help you get some relief soon!


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