Why does coffee make me sick to my stomach?

In this short text we will provide the answer to the question: “Why does coffee make me sick to my stomach?”. In addition, we will discuss why coffee is bad for the stomach of some people and we will give you some tips on how to relieve the symptoms of stomach discomfort when drinking coffee.

Why does coffee make me sick to my stomach?

Coffee stimulates the production of hydrochloric acid in the stomach, irritating the organ and causing pain, discomfort and even heartburn. Some people are more sensitive to caffeine. In this case, drinking very strong coffee, especially on an empty stomach, can cause stomach discomfort.

For the vast majority of people, drinking coffee in moderation is okay. However, it is important to emphasize that in case of gastritis, reflux and gastric ulcers consumption should be avoided. The big problem is in the exaggeration, if you feel any discomfort when consuming the drink, look for a doctor.

Can coffee cause gastritis?

Coffee does not cause gastritis, but it should be avoided when we have gastritis. 

Gastritis is a disease that is characterized by inflammation of the gastric mucosa, which is the inner layer of the stomach’s lining.

 If you have gastritis, you may not feel anything, but the most common complaint is pain or burning in the upper abdomen (mouth of the stomach), and in some cases there may be nausea, vomiting, belching (belching) and a feeling of poor digestion. It is not serious, but it is a very common disease.

Contrary to what many people think, gastritis is usually not caused by certain eating habits or even stress.

 The main cause of chronic gastritis is infection with Helicobacter pylori, a bacterium that is present in the stomach of almost 80% of the population in developing countries, is usually acquired in childhood and remains there for the rest of their lives. 

Some will develop gastritis and others will not and believe me, we still don’t know exactly why this happens.

Other causes are the abuse of substances such as anti-inflammatories, aspirin and corticosteroids that destroy the mucus barrier that protects the stomach from its own acid. 

There are also rarer causes, such as gastritis caused by other bacteria, fungi, some parasites, viral infections and autoimmune diseases.

Coffee contains a lot of caffeine, a xanthine that is a powerful central nervous system stimulant. It is rapidly absorbed in the intestinal tract and metabolized in the liver. Contrary to popular belief, caffeine is not acidic but an alkaloid (alkaline or basic). 

Even so, it is considered an irritating substance to the gastric mucosa, because in addition to the local effect, when it stimulates the nervous system, it ends up producing more acid in the stomach, thus accentuating the patient’s symptoms, even without being the direct cause of the disease.

Why not drink coffee on an empty stomach?

You shouldn’t drink coffee without having eaten anything before because it can upset your stomach! 

The drink, when it reaches this organ, produces stomach acids that can hurt the stomach walls, which causes heartburn and poor digestion. Who suffers from gastritis, then, don’t even think about taking it on an empty stomach!

In addition, plain coffee in the morning can harm the functioning of our metabolism: this habit alters the levels of cortisol, a hormone produced by the adrenal glands and that helps the body to reduce inflammation, control stress and maintain blood sugar levels. controlled blood and blood pressure. 

Thus, ingesting the drink on an empty stomach can harm the biological functioning of the organism, making us more irritated and unfocused.

Can drinking too much coffee cause gastritis and reflux?

According to experts, coffee can cause irritation of the gastric mucosa, reducing the defense mechanisms of the stomach, in addition, it can cause relaxation of the esophageal sphincter allowing the occurrence of reflux. 

So, if you have symptoms of reflux or gastritis, be careful: too much coffee can aggravate it. Caffeine can promote lower esophageal sphincter relaxation, leading to worsening reflux.

A decaf coffee, in theory, would be less harmful to your health, but don’t go overboard and watch your symptoms get worse.

In addition, you should investigate your reflux, for symptom relief and treatment on the basis of this process.

A suggestion is to start having a glass of water with lemon, early in the morning on an empty stomach right before drinking coffee. This allows you to alleviate symptoms.


In this short text we provided the answer to the question: “Why does coffee make me sick to my stomach?”. In addition, we discussed why coffee is bad for the stomach of some people and we gave you some tips on how to relieve the symptoms of stomach discomfort when drinking coffee.



Hi, I am Charlotte, I love cooking and in my previous life, I was a chef. I bring some of my experience to the recipes on this hub and answer your food questions.