Caffeine, one of the most popular stimulants in the world, is present in coffee, tea, chocolate, energy drinks and some colas. Caffeine stimulates the central nervous system and decreases fatigue by interfering with a chemical in the body that promotes sleepiness. While in moderation caffeine is harmless, too much can make you feel anxious and irritable. Drinking upwards of four caffeinated beverages a day -- or more than 500 to 600 milligrams of caffeine -- can cause an upset stomach, heartburn, inflammation of the lining of the stomach and abdominal pain. How to treat your symptoms depends on how caffeine affects you and how much you consume. One cup of coffee contains between 100 and 200 milligrams of caffeine, depending on the type of coffee.
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Don't eat anything. Until your symptoms dissipate -- which they will after an hour or so -- refrain from snacking and skip meals. The good news is, you probably won't have an appetite.
Drink four to six glasses of water throughout the day. Caffeine is an acidic beverage that can cause gastritis, according to the University of Maryland Medical Center, UMMC. Flushing your system with water could help reduce discomfort and other symptoms.
Try an over-the-counter medication that neutralizes stomach acids. Get your doctor's advice on which one would be most likely to help you. The most frequently reported symptom from caffeinated coffee consumption is heartburn, according to a 1999 review of literature on coffee and gastrointestinal function in the “Scandinavian Journal of Gastroenterology.” The researchers, from the department of gastroenterology at the University Hospital Utrecht in The Netherlands, suggest that Pepcid AC, Zantac and Tagamet HB can treat heartburn without causing acid rebound -- a condition that causes the stomach to produce more acid.
Chew on an herbal peppermint tablet or licorice two or three times a day or an hour before drinking caffeine to calm a peptic ulcer flareup. Drinking large amounts of caffeine can cause inflammation of the lining of the stomach or irritate an existing condition. UMMC encourages utilizing these herbal remedies for gastrointestinal inflammation.
REFERENCES & RESOURCES
- University of Maryland Medical Center; Gastritis; September 2009
- Dr. Ronald Hoffman: Antacids, Not the Anti You Think They Are
- University of Maryland Medical Center; Peptic Ulcer; September 2009
- MedlinePlus; Licorice; April 2011
- Cleveland Clinic; Indigestion; December 2009
- "Los Angeles Times”; That Caffeine Rush Can Give a Kick in the Stomach Too; September 2008
- "Scandinavian Journal of Gastroenterology"; Coffee and Gastrointestinal Function; P.J. Boekema; 1999