Does Caffeine Cause Stomach Pain?

Caffeine does not commonly cause stomach pain in most people. If you develop occasional stomach pain after consuming caffeinated products, it may be the result of indigestion or consuming too much caffeine. Stomach pain that develops every time you ingest caffeine may be a sign of a more serious digestive condition. Ulcers, allergic reactions and other food-related conditions may be the cause of your stomach pain. Stop using caffeine until you can see your physician.

A large cup of black coffee. (Image: Supersmario/iStock/Getty Images)

Side Effects

Caffeine is the drug most commonly added to foods and beverages. It naturally occurs in various foods, such as chocolate, tea and coffee. Caffeine also may be found in certain medications and energy drinks. Stomach pain is not a common side effect of using caffeine in moderation. The most common side effects include dizziness, irritability, anxiety, feeling jittery, trouble sleeping, tremors and a fast heart rate. Drugs.com notes that stomach and abdominal bloating are rare side effects of caffeine.

Ulcer

If you have an ulcer -- an open sore in the lining of your esophagus, stomach or small intestine -- consuming caffeine will cause stomach pain every time you ingest it. Certain substances, such as caffeine, alcohol and tobacco, can irritate ulcers. An ulcer is the result of an infection in your digestive system, but it also may be caused by drinking too much alcohol, using tobacco or the regular use of nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drugs. Most ulcers are treated with antibiotics and antacids.

Allergic Reaction

Stomach pain may be the result of an allergic reaction to caffeine or an ingredient in a food or beverage that contains caffeine. An allergic reaction is the result of a hypersensitivity of the immune system to a substance it identifies as dangerous. During an allergic reaction, chemicals are released that can cause inflammation to develop in your digestive system, leading to stomach pain, abdominal cramping, diarrhea, vomiting, nausea and bloating. Most allergic reactions cause varied symptoms throughout the body, not just in the gastrointestinal system.

Other Considerations

Stomach pain may be the result of other conditions, such as lactose intolerance, irritable bowel syndrome or Crohn's disease. Lactose intolerance is the inability to digest the sugar found in milk, leading to gas, bloating and stomach pain. Irritable bowel syndrome is a common digestive condition that can be triggered by the consumption of caffeine. Crohn's disease causes chronic inflammation in your intestines, which may be made worse when you consume caffeine.

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