Does Coffee Cause Ulcers?

Q: My husband drinks a LOT of coffee and I worry about him getting an ulcer. Is there a way to mitigate all that coffee, and what are the warning signs?

A: No research has shown that coffee drinking leads to the formation of gastric ulcers. Even if a person is diagnosed with an ulcer, there is no reason to stop drinking coffee unless there are specific symptoms associated with its consumption.

While some people may experience heartburn after drinking a cup of coffee, there is no conclusive evidence that coffee makes the stomach produce more acid. However, caffeine may decrease the strength of the muscle that surrounds the esophagus as it enters the stomach. This may allow more acid to flow up into the esophagus causing heartburn. Keep in mind that having heartburn does not mean that you have a stomach ulcer.

Some of the symptoms to watch for if you are concerned about stomach ulcers: A sour taste in the mouth every morning, pain if you press in the area right below the sternum (the bone in the center of your chest); coughing or throwing up blood, or black sticky bowel movements indicating the presence of blood in the stool.

Learn more:
Reduce your dependence on caffeine
Can coffee be good for you?

Dr. Brent Ridge is the health expert for Martha Stewart Living Omnimedia. You can call and ask him a question live every Tuesday at 2 p.m. Eastern on Sirius Satellite Radio, Channel 112 (1.866.675.6675). You can also follow along as he learns to grow his own food and raise goats on his farm in upstate New York by visiting

Got a health question for Dr. Brent? E-mail him at


William C
William C8 months ago


W. C
W. C8 months ago

Thank you for the article.

Terry V.
Terry V5 years ago


N. Jane Walker
N. Jane Walker5 years ago

I love coffee but have cut back recently.

Joy S.
Joy s5 years ago

Gotta have my coffee thru out the day!

Duane B.
.5 years ago

Thank you for sharing.

a             y m.
g d c5 years ago

doesn't tea have a lot oif caffeine too???

Steven F.
Steven F.7 years ago

I'm not sure if the ulcer that I developed was because of coffee or hard liquor. It wasn't bacterial though (which is the most common cause of an ulcer, the H. Pylori bacteria to be exact). I really miss my Keurig coffee maker and hope that I can return to drinking coffee (and not hard liquor). I think the verdict is still out on whether or not coffee is good or bad for you?

Susanne Tyler
Susanne OFFLINE8 years ago

I can´t imagine living without "my coffee" in the morning!

Lynn Miller
Lynn M8 years ago

There is no life without coffee for me. One of the simple pleasures of life....ahhhh