Can tea cause stomach pain? (+7 other side-effects)

In this article, we will answer the question “Can tea cause stomach pain?”, and what are the other side-effects of tea?

Can tea cause stomach pain?

Yes, tea can cause stomach pain. This mostly occurs If you consume tea in large amounts or on an empty stomach. The cause behind this is the tannins that give the tea a bitter, dry and astringent taste. 

In some sensitive individuals that have a lower threshold limit for tannins, these symptoms get triggered with only 1–2 cups (240–480 ml). 

While others can tolerate as much as cups (1.2 liters) without feeling uncomfortable. To avoid such effects, It is recommended to always have tea after some time of a meal and in smaller amounts. 

The tannins after binding to the carbs and proteins in your meal are rendered become less irritating than they were before. You can also dampen the effects by adding a splash of milk to your cup of tea.

What teas soothe an upset stomach?

Teas like ginger tea, peppermint tea, green tea, black tea, fennel tea, licorice tea, chamomile tea, holy basil tea, and spearmint tea, etc help relieve an upset stomach.

Other side-effects of drinking too much tea

Reduced iron absorption 

Tannins, present in tea, bind to the iron in your meal and reduce its bioavailability by decreasing its absorption from the gut. It can lead to iron deficiency over time or worsen your current deficiency of the nutrient. 

The hindering effects of tannins are more pronounced on the iron obtained from plant-based food. So, all vegetarians and vegans must pay attention to their tea intake. Start by reducing your tea intake to 3 or fewer cups (710 ml) per day or taking your tea between meals.

Increased anxiety, stress, and restlessness

The caffeine present in tea can lead to stress and anxiety. The caffeine content of tea varies greatly with the type of tea and how long your brew it. Generally, a single cup (240 ml) of tea provides about 11–61 mg of caffeine. 

The longer you brew your tea, the greater the caffeine content. Similarly, black tea will provide more caffeine as compared to its green and white counterparts. 

Switch to herbal tea If you are experiencing such symptoms. A caffeine intake of 200mg per day is considered to be within safe limits.


Caffeine triggers acid reflux by relaxing the esophageal sphincter, present at the joining between stomach and esophagus. 

It can also trigger the release of more stomach acid. The symptoms can be mild or severe or even non-existent in some people because everyone has a different tolerance to caffeine.

Poor sleep 

The caffeine in tea may also disturb your sleep cycle by reducing the release of the melatonin hormone. Sleep deprivation can lead to fatigue, impaired memory, and reduced attention span. In the worst-case scenario, a higher risk of obesity, poor blood sugar control results. 

Though the metabolism rate varies with people, however, generally 200mg of caffeine takes about 6 hours or more to metabolize completely. If you take this amount before going to bed, you won’t be able to sleep.

Other FAQs about Tea which you may be interested in.

Can tea get you high?

Can tea go bad If left out?

Can tea cause heartburn?

Pregnancy complications 

Taking tea in large quantities is associated with high levels of caffeine intake which results in miscarriage and low infant birth weight in pregnant women. A caffeine intake of 200-300mg per day is considered to be within safe limits. 

But the jury is still out on this one. Generally, the caffeine content of tea is 20–60 mg per cup (240 ml). This means taking 3 cups (710 ml) of tea per day is acceptable. 

Note that switching to herbal teas during pregnancy might not be a good idea. Because some herbal teas contain black cohosh or licorice that can lead to premature labor. Contact your healthcare provider before consuming any such type of tea.

Headaches and dizziness

Excessive and regular use of tea can do quite the opposite of relieving headaches. A caffeine intake of 100mg per day is enough to trigger a headache for some people. However, the tolerance to caffeine varies greatly.  

Tea has relatively low caffeine content but certain types can provide as much as 60mg of caffeine per cup(240ml).

Dizziness is associated with consuming large quantities of tea in one sitting. The caffeine is the culprit here. In order for the dizziness to be really felt, you need to consume about 400–500 mg, or about 6–12 cups (1.4–2.8 liters) of tea, and that too in one sitting.

Caffeine dependence 

Caffeine dependence is common due to its stimulating effects. It could kick in at only 3 days of regular intake or maybe much delayed for some people due to a varied tolerance to caffeine. 


In this article, we answered the question “Can tea cause stomach pain?”, and what are the other side-effects of tea?


Was this helpful?

Thanks for your feedback!