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I really love coffee but for last 6 months I've felt nauseous almost every time I drink it. If I drink an espresso in the morning I will most likely vomit. If I drink it after lunch or a few hours after I wake up (4-5 hours) then I will feel nausea but I probably won't throw up. I don't feel any of those effects from any amount of Red Bull or similar energy drinks therefore I don't think it's about the caffeine. For the record I hate energy drinks and don't won't to drink them in the morning or ever, but I had to sometimes, and I drank like a lot and never felt any nausea.

The problem actually started 3 years ago and it lasted for about a year and a half. Then it stopped and for a year I could drink coffee anytime without any negative side effects, but the problem re-emerged 6 months ago. I'm desperate because I really love coffee and I'm really used to that extra energy boost coffee gives me in the morning.

I'm male and I'm 23 years old.

  • I have seen people share that they regularly were nauseated or straight up threw up every morning when they were chronically stressed, and the symptoms completely abated when they, for example, got a better job. Clearly the coffee is a necessary component of your symptoms, just putting it out there that stress might explain the on and off nature of how coffee affects you. – Lyrl Feb 17 at 23:13
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The various acids found in coffee do contribute to the overall taste of your brew. However, acidity in coffee, especially when drinking on an empty stomach can lead you to feel a bit queasy. These acids may irritate your stomach lining, and cause feelings of nausea.

For a nice discussion see: https://www.deathwishcoffee.com/blogs/news/can-coffee-make-me-sick

  • This is incorrect. Acidity in coffee doesn't hurt a bit, unless you have some prior condition (like Ulcers, Reflux, Crohn syndromes etc.). There's no scientific evidence to back this up. Black coffee has a ph level of about 5, while your stomachs ph level can easily drop to ph 1-2. What happens though is that the caffein in the coffee stimulates hydrochloric acid release, so you might get a "sour" stomach in the morning if you first drink a coffee. This can be problematic for people with digestive conditions or impact your ability to digest high protein meals during the day. – avocado1 Jan 25 '18 at 10:54
  • Still it is far from being clear that coffee consumption causes any of these conditions. Likely it just has an impact, if you already have it. And note as well, that it is certainly not the acidic compounds in coffee itself, that irritate your stomach lining, but if anything your own bodily hydrochloric acid. That said, it's still possible there's some kind of intolerance to one of the compounds in coffee, but certainly not the acidity that causes anything without there being a preexisting condition. And that is something to see a doctor about. – avocado1 Jan 25 '18 at 10:59
  • There's a couple of sources, plenty more though out there: tandfonline.com/doi/abs/10.1080/003655299750025525 nejm.org/doi/full/10.1056/NEJM197510302931803 – avocado1 Jan 25 '18 at 11:25
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I only know of two connections between coffee and nausea. The first is caffein withdrawal, which in your case obviously doesn't apply. Secondly there is some evidence, although it far from being clear, that coffee might be bad for people suffering from reflux disease. See for example here.

According to that source, gastroesophageal reflux might be triggered by coffee (among others). However it is far from clear, that it really does with studies showing that dropping coffee consumption doesn't significantly change the symptoms to the better.

I suggest you talk about this with a doctor or dietary specialist. This is pure speculation, but maybe you are allergic/intolerant to one of the compounds found in coffee or it is some kind of psychosomatic response. The expectation of becoming nauseous after drinking coffee that leads to actual nausea. Maybe there was some unrelated nausea that you connected to your coffee consumption. Or maybe your nausea is entirely unrelated to the coffee and just happens to coincide with it.

If the problem persists and a doctor couldn't help you, maybe try green/black tea. They contain caffein and can have a similar, somewhat more mellow but also more persistent energizing effect.

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It sounds like espresso is making you nauseous intermittently. You said that it nausea disappeared for a year. And it apparently isn't the caffeine that bothers you.

It sounds like there is another factor at play, possibly a stomach sensitivity or reflux as mentioned in another answer. Or it could be certain brands of coffee that don't agree with you. Are you drinking the same brand now as you did during the trouble-free coffee year? Have you tried, at least temporarily, drinking a milk based drink e.g. cappuccino or brewed coffee to see if it might be the concentrated strength of espresso that is at issue?

If you belch or have an upset stomach, consult a physician who can presumably cure that issue with an appropriate antibiotic.

  • @Kreso Another possibility is "decreased clearance" of caffeine. What that means is that nausea is a more common effect of high caffeine ingestion, usually drinking more than 4 cups a day. Your liver metabolizes caffeine and your kidney removes it from your body. So anything that has a significant impact on your liver or kidney may keep the caffeine in your body longer and effectively push you closer to the level where nausea is more likely. E.g. quitting smoking, many prescription drugs, etc might do this. – user5236 Feb 8 '18 at 13:14
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I found over the course of a few weeks, I was feeling nauseous in the mornings. It took me a while, but I found if I didn't drink my cup of coffee in the morning, I would be fine!

I experimented a bit, and found not all coffee made me feel sick. Currently, I'm drinking Starbucks house blend which doesn't affect me - however other Starbucks beans do.

This is absolutely real - as I have experienced nausea after my wife switched out coffee without letting me know.

Try a few different types of coffee and see if you can find one you can tolerate without feeling ill. Best of luck!

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