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Question about coffee

diarrhea caffeine ibs nausea urgency coffee intolerance question advice help

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#1 introvertebrate

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Posted 01 December 2014 - 12:19 AM

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Hi there,
 
I'm a 23 year old female, and I absolutely cannot tolerate any amount of caffeine, and never have been able to. I only ever have coffee when I'm studying for big exams, but every single time, without a single exception, the same thing happens:
 
I wait until it's cool enough to just guzzle, then I try to just dump the whole mug down my throat as quick as is humanly possible... and I've never once been able to get more than 1/2 way through the mug before I've very, very suddenly (and very, very urgently) had to BOLT to the toilet for some truly awful diarrhea... but it's never just over after that. Each and every time, I spend the next 2 entire hours (or more!) running back and forth from the toilet every 5-15 minutes... and there's no hint of exaggeration there. In fact, most of the time nowadays I actually just bring my notes with me and stay on the toilet while studying for the first hour, and then just study on the floor of the bathroom for the second hour (it disrupts my studying less than having to run between separate rooms a dozen times).
 
For those 2+ hours, I also always have mild stomach pains and really, really strong nausea.
 
I've certainly heard of people always having diarrhea after coffee before, especially those with IBS - and I have strongly suspected for years that I have IBS (I mentioned it to my GP last year, and he just said "yeah, sounds like IBS alright" and nothing else, but to be fair we were mainly focusing on an unrelated stomach issue at the time & I just mentioned it offhand). However, I've been doing a ton of research and googling and visiting forums about this recently, and I didn't see a single other account of it being quite so severe - in other people with IBS, it sounds like it rarely starts so immediately after the coffee, and never lasts for such a long time after finishing the coffee (at least not with such regularity / so often over that entire period), so I'm just a little bit concerned.
 
I've tried it without dairy before and there was no difference... and these past couple of months I've been drinking green tea instead, since it's supposed to have only like 1/3 the amount of caffeine as a cup of coffee... and while the effect isn't quuuite as bad as coffee, it's still WAY more than I've ever heard of anyone having after just a cup of green tea. Instead of before I can even finish the mug, the diarrhea tends to start about 10-25mins later I'd estimate, and instead of 2+hrs, it last about 1 and a 1/2 hours or so (or if I'm SUPER lucky, an hour and fifteen at the very, very least). 
But that still means I can never have it when I'm not at home, and that I can never have it within 1.5 hours of having to leave home (at the very least - if it's the morning and I have a lot of getting ready to do, I have to tack a substantial amount of time onto that since I literally have to spend half of that 1.5hrs on the toilet and that tends to disrupt the process of getting ready in the morning).
 
In all honestly, I'm totally used to diarrhea, and barely mind it in the slightest anymore - it's just the MASSIVE amount of wasted time that's so, so horrible and life-disrupting.
 
Do you think this just sounds like particularly bad IBS? Do you think it could be something else? Do you know of anything I could do to counteract this, or at least make it not last so long??? 
 
I also have ADHD, and even with my meds, I always score at least 15% lower on exams when I don't use caffeine to help me study (trust me, I've done many, many tests...), so just cutting out caffeine altogether just isn't an option I'm afraid. :(
 
... I'm really sorry I'm so long-winded.
 
Thanks so much for your time and for any advice, experiences, or comments whatsoever, I really appreciate it!!!
 
PS: I forgot to elaborate on the other stomach issue I briefly mentioned, juuust in case it's relevant... Starting just about a years ago, I've been having recurring flare-ups of gastrointestinal issues that last for about a month or so each time, where whenever I'm hungry (starts up only like 3 hours after I've last eaten), I get burning/gnawing stomach pains and experience reeeeeally, really strong nausea. Eating usually takes care of it... for a short time.
 
My GP suspected stress-induced stomach ulcers, and prescribed rabeprazole which took care of all the symptoms wonderfully. However, they recurred after we stopped the medicine, and so I'm scheduled to have an endoscopy in about 2 weeks. For the past couple of months, I'm back on rabeprazole just to control symptoms until the procedure.
 
But just to be clear, that issue only started for the first time just under a year ago, and I've had the coffee thing since the very first time I ever tried coffee, almost a decade ago.


#2 BQ

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Posted 01 December 2014 - 10:29 AM

I don't know... why you have such a severe reaction to the coffee.... Maybe you are allergic??  Have you tried other forums of caffiene.. like Mountain Dew soda or those 5 hour energy things?  Or maybe it is a reaction between the coffee and your other meds??


Please remember this is a group of folks seeking support on how to live with and manage IBS. THESE ARE ONLY MY OWN THOUGHTS. IF YOU WANT AN EXPERT OPINION, ASK A MEDICAL PROFESSIONAL.

#3 introvertebrate

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Posted 01 December 2014 - 10:32 PM

I don't know... why you have such a severe reaction to the coffee.... Maybe you are allergic??  Have you tried other forums of caffiene.. like Mountain Dew soda or those 5 hour energy things?  Or maybe it is a reaction between the coffee and your other meds??

 

Yeah I know, it's so weird!! 

 

I have tried other forms of caffeine, like Mountain Dew and green tea... I do get a similar reaction with teas, but to a less severe degree than with the coffee... not so much with Mountain Dew for some reason?

 

So maybe I have a baseline sensitivity to caffeine that is somewhat severe, as many people with IBS do, and on top of that I'm really allergic to the coffee itself as well???

 

Honestly, before doing a lot of research, that was my first guess... but every source of information on coffee allergy that I could find online had to do with allergy symptoms like rashes, tongue/throat swelling, headaches, trouble breathing, hives, chest pain, cold-like symptoms, etc... and I don't really have any of those.

 

I also did a lot of research into caffeine intolerance (different from an allergy - think lactose intolerance), and the symptoms seemed to fit much better, except again, they were never described as being quite as severe as my symptoms, and they were always described as being delayed - never immediately after/during caffeine consumption, as far as I read.

Although perhaps these differences are due to the interaction of IBS and caffeine intolerance together??

 

I'm just so confused...

 

I also considered the medication issue, but while I am currently on a few, these symptoms have always occurred with coffee, since long before I was ever in any meds.

 

Although!! I'm not sure if this is relevant at all, but I've only ever tried tea while on my current acid-reducing medication (rabeprazole), so I can't confirm if I'd still react the same to green tea without any meds in me...

 

Thank you very much for taking the time to respond, BQ!!! smile.png



#4 BQ

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Posted 02 December 2014 - 08:29 AM

Well then,,,, get yourself some Mountain Dew!  LOL And think positively!!!!  You will do fine on your exams! Remember you do not need to have an "A" in everything!  A "C" is just fine!  


Please remember this is a group of folks seeking support on how to live with and manage IBS. THESE ARE ONLY MY OWN THOUGHTS. IF YOU WANT AN EXPERT OPINION, ASK A MEDICAL PROFESSIONAL.

#5 kat_hy

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Posted 08 January 2015 - 03:15 AM

I also have issues with coffee so I've just cut it out of my diet. As a college student I know know how hard it is studying for exams and not having some caffeine to help you through. Luckily, I can still drink teas which have been a lifesaver. I'm a little confused as well with the sudden-ness of the symptoms. I will feel sick usually 30 min to an hour after I drink coffee but never as soon as I drink it. I will get an uncomfortable tightening/spasm-ing maybe 5-10 min after I drink it but that's the soonest the symptoms will show up.



#6 emily82

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Posted 08 January 2015 - 06:05 PM

I completely hear you - this is my exact experience with drinking coffee, at least in the morning. I'm sure I've had IBS my entire life, constipation was always an issue as a kid and teenager. Until I got into my late teens and early 20s now, when I got on the coffee train, and it changed that for good. Now it's either being mostly constipated like before, or drink coffee and have diarrhea. My bowels and I are not friends, haha.

 

I understand 100% about how it becomes so normal and it doesn't even really bother you after awhile, it's to be expected, but just the wasted time making trips to the bathroom is the frustration. It's the worst when I am trying to get ready for work early in the AM and am crunched for time anyway.

 

But that's usually my issue, personally. I drink it first thing in the morning and if I haven't eaten much (or more stupidly, sometimes, nothing with the coffee) this is the inevitable result. If I drink a cup in the afternoon, I don't have stomach problems. It seems to just be the very hour my stomach is super sensitive is when I need the caffeine. Do you have issues no matter when you drink it? Are you drinking it with food or on a full stomach? I guess those are usually the pressing questions for me. Eat toast, a bagel, coffee cake, a muffin, etc. some type of cafe-esque snack that would absorb some of the acid from the coffee... also drinking water too intermittently.

 

My only other advice is that I find drinking just a smaller amount of it makes a huge difference. I really don't need a massive cup of it, I would imagine most people do not. It's psychological for me because I do get the energy boost and I love the taste of coffee, but there's no reason to chug a huge quantity of it especially if your stomach is touchy. Maybe I don't get as extreme of a buzz but enough that it wards off a withdrawal headache and I have way less severe of a stomach reaction. Nondairy creamer helps too. I can handle one or the other with caffeine and dairy, both together is dangerous. Hope this helps somewhat! And maybe it will help me to follow my advice too, haha. Easy does it on the coffee!!







Also tagged with one or more of these keywords: diarrhea, caffeine, ibs, nausea, urgency, coffee, intolerance, question, advice, help


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