What It Really Means When Coffee Makes You Sick

For many of us, the coffee pot is the first stop we make in the mornings. But have you ever had an upset stomach after enjoying your morning cup? Coffee can actually affect your digestive system, making you feel ill — and it's way more common than you think.

One of the biggest benefits to coffee is the caffeine that perks us up. One cup of 8-ounce coffee contains roughly 95 mg of caffeine, according to Healthline. You may be consuming too much caffeine if coffee is making you feel sick, or you may have a sensitivity to caffeine.

Caffeine that can increase production of stomach acids, potentially worsening acid reflux and irritating your stomach lining (via Livestrong). The acids in coffee itself can also increase stomach acid production, so decaffeinated coffee may not even do the trick.

It may not even be the coffee that upsets your stomach. Adding creamer, milk, sugar, or other sweeteners to your coffee could be what's causing issues with digestion. Lactose intolerance is a common issue, so you may want to try nondairy products to see if your upset stomach subsides.

Tips on battling sickness from coffee

So what can you do for your morning boost? Try black tea or decaf coffee — both options have less caffeine than a regular cup of coffee. If your heart is set on coffee, try having your cup after breakfast. The acid in coffee hits your body particularly hard without any food to help absorb it, especially if you have a sensitive stomach. You can also minimize the acidity of coffee by selecting a darker roast, cold-brewed coffee, or brewing coffee with larger grounds.

It is also important to consume caffeine in moderation, especially if you are having stomach issues. No more than three to four cups a day are recommended.

If these alternatives are unsuccessful, you may want to seek advice from your medical team. It could be anything from food allergies to irritable bowel syndrome to stomach ulcers — and those should be diagnosed and treated accordingly.