Caffeine does not commonly cause stomach pain in most people 1. If you develop occasional stomach pain after consuming caffeinated products, it may be the result of indigestion or consuming too much caffeine 1. Stomach pain that develops every time you ingest caffeine may be a sign of a more serious digestive condition 1. 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 1.
Caffeine is the drug most commonly added to foods and beverages 1. It naturally occurs in various foods, such as chocolate, tea and coffee. Caffeine also may be found in certain medications and energy drinks 1. Stomach pain is not a common side effect of using caffeine in moderation 1. The most common side effects include:
- feeling jittery
- trouble sleeping
- a fast heart rate
Drugs.com notes that stomach and abdominal bloating are rare side effects of caffeine 1.
Caffeine & Back Pain
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 1. Certain substances, such as caffeine, alcohol and tobacco, can irritate ulcers 1. 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.
Stomach pain may be the result of an allergic reaction to caffeine or an ingredient in a food or beverage that contains caffeine 1. 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
Most allergic reactions cause varied symptoms throughout the body, not just in the gastrointestinal system.
Allergic Reactions to Caffeine
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 1. Crohn’s disease causes chronic inflammation in your intestines, which may be made worse when you consume caffeine 1.
- 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.
Caffeine & Back Pain
Allergic Reactions to Caffeine
Gall Bladder Symptoms & Caffeine
Can Caffeine Cause Hives?
Can Excess Caffeine Cause Rashes?
How Does Caffeine Affect the Bowels of a Person Who Has Acute Chronic Gastritis & Diverticulitis?
Caffeine & Protein Digestion
Can Beer Damage the Throat?
Can Coffee Trigger Stomach Virus Symptoms?
Good & Bad Food for Gastric Ulcers
- Drugs.com: Caffeine
- FamilyDoctor.org: Ulcers
- Meredith SE, Juliano LM, Hughes JR, Griffiths RR. Caffeine Use Disorder: A Comprehensive Review and Research Agenda. J Caffeine Res. 2013;3(3):114-130. doi:10.1089/jcr.2013.0016
- Richards G, Smith AP. A Review of Energy Drinks and Mental Health, with a Focus on Stress, Anxiety, and Depression. J Caffeine Res. 2016;6(2):49-63. doi:10.1089/jcr.2015.0033
- Brunyé TT, Mahoney CR, Rapp DN, Ditman T, Taylor HA. Caffeine enhances real-world language processing: evidence from a proofreading task. J Exp Psychol Appl. 2012;18(1):95-108. doi:10.1037/a0025851
- Koppelstaetter F, Poeppel TD, Siedentopf CM, et al. Caffeine and cognition in functional magnetic resonance imaging. J Alzheimers Dis. 2010;20 Suppl 1:S71-84. doi:10.3233/JAD-2010-1417
- Harrell PT, Juliano LM. Caffeine expectancies influence the subjective and behavioral effects of caffeine. Psychopharmacology (Berl). 2009;207(2):335-42. doi:10.1007/s00213-009-1658-5
- Lucas M, O'reilly EJ, Pan A, et al. Coffee, caffeine, and risk of completed suicide: results from three prospective cohorts of American adults. World J Biol Psychiatry. 2014;15(5):377-86. doi:10.3109/15622975.2013.795243
- Abdel-Hady H, Nasef N, Shabaan AE, Nour I. Caffeine therapy in preterm infants. World J Clin Pediatr. 2015;4(4):81-93. doi:10.5409/wjcp.v4.i4.81
- American Psychiatric Association. Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders. 5th edition. Washington DC; 2013.
- Turnbull D, Rodricks JV, Mariano GF, Chowdhury F. Caffeine and cardiovascular health. Regul Toxicol Pharmacol. 2017;89:165-185. doi:10.1016/j.yrtph.2017.07.025
- Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. Alcohol and Caffeine. Updated October 23, 2018.
- Alsunni AA. Energy Drink Consumption: Beneficial and Adverse Health Effects. Int J Health Sci (Qassim). 2015;9(4):468-474.
- Lyngsø J, Ramlau-Hansen CH, Bay B, Ingerslev HJ, Hulman A, Kesmodel US. Association between coffee or caffeine consumption and fecundity and fertility: a systematic review and dose-response meta-analysis. Clin Epidemiol. 2017;9:699-719. doi:10.2147/CLEP.S146496
- U.S. Food and Drug Administration. Pure and Highly Concentrated Caffeine. Updated September 21, 2018.
- National Institute on Drug Abuse. Drugs, Brains, and Behavior: The Science of Addiction. Updated July 2018.
Diane Marks started her writing career in 2010 and has been in health care administration for more than 30 years. She holds a registered nurse license from Citizens General Hospital School of Nursing, a Bachelor of Arts in health care education from California University of Pennsylvania and a Master of Science in health administration from the University of Pittsburgh.