What determines how soon you can leave the hospital? When people undergo abdominal surgery such as for appendicitis or colon cancer, doctors and nurses delay discharge until they have evidence of reestablished bowel function. That can take several days. Surgeons worry about postoperative ileus, the failure of the bowels to move normally. Patients may suffer bloating, nausea and vomiting and be unable to eat (Therapeutics and Clinical Risk Management, Oct. 2008). Needless to say, they are unable to leave the hospital and return home in that condition.
How Does Coffee Help People Leave the Hospital Earlier?
Coffee has a long-standing reputation for facilitating bowel activity. A randomized controlled trial conducted in Switzerland included more than 100 patients (Diseases of the Colon and Rectum, Aug, 2019). Half the patients got three cups of caffeinated coffee a day, one cup morning, noon and early evening. The other half got decaf tea as a control.
The people drinking coffee had their first bowel movement sooner, which allowed them to leave the hospital earlier.
The authors concluded:
“Because of its easy availability and low adverse effects, coffee could be integrated in the postoperative management of patients undergoing colorectal resections.”
Other Research on Coffee for the Bowels:
This is not the first research to show benefits from drinking coffee. Lithuanian investigators reported earlier that patients consuming 100 ml of coffee three times daily could leave the hospital sooner (Diseases of the Colon and Rectum, Nov. 2015). They found, however, that decaf coffee was even better for promoting bowel activity.