Researchers from Switzerland evaluated the effect of standardized coffee intake on postoperative bowel movement after elective laparoscopic colorectal resection. This was a prospective randomized controlled trial conducted between September 2014 and December 2016.
Fifty-six patients were included in the intervention group (coffee), and 59 patients were included in the control group (tea). Patients in the treatment arm (coffee) received 1 cup of coffee 3 times per day (150 mL at 8:00 AM, 12:00 PM, and 5:00 PM), in addition to the regular infusion therapy and/or alimentation starting the first day postoperatively. In the control arm, the same protocol was applied, replacing coffee with tea (excluding caffeine-containing tea, like black, green, and white tea) during the entire hospital stay. The primary end point was time to first bowel movement. Secondary end points included the use of laxative, insertion of a nasogastric tube, length of hospital stay, and postoperative complications. All of the patients drank the same quantity and type of coffee coming from the same type of coffee machine.
The main finding was that coffee consumption shortens the time to the first postoperative bowel movement, occurring after a median of 65.2 hours in the coffee group and after 74.1 hours in the tea group. The authors concluded:
Our study shows that early postoperative coffee intake after elective laparoscopic colorectal resection leads to a faster recovery of bowel function and thus potentially decreases length of hospital stay. Because of its easy availability and low adverse effects, coffee could be integrated in the postoperative management of patients undergoing colorectal resections."
Hasler-Gehrer, S. et al. (2019) Does Coffee Intake Reduce Postoperative Ileus After Laparoscopic Elective Colorectal Surgery? A Prospective, Randomized Controlled Study. Diseases of the Colon & Rectum. doi.org/10.1097/DCR.0000000000001405.