Caffeine and hot flashes

Posted by on Aug 1, 2014 in hot flash, nightsweats | 0 comments

Depositphotos_13475137_xsTrue confession: I hated reading this study and I truly dislike the findings. But I feel obligated to share what I’ve learned about caffeine and menopause, if only to provide you with additional options for symptoms management. If you are a long-time reader of Flashfree, you will remember that I’ve previously covered the health benefits of coffee so the news isn’t all that bad. However, if you are experiencing frequent hot flashes and night sweats, you may want to considering cut down on your daily consumption.

Recently, researchers at the Mayo Clinic in Rochester, MN surveyed over 1,800 women who visited the clinic for menopausal complaints. The women were asked to respond to a scientific survey — the Menopause Health Questionnaire — that assesses a variety of important factors such as demographics, reproductive/gynecologic histories and the presence/severity of symptoms. With regard to caffeine intake, the women were asked if they consumed drinks with caffeine (e.g. coffee, tea, soft drinks) and current smoking status was also evaluated. Because of the subjective nature of pre- and perimenopause, these women were grouped and then compared to women who were in full menopause.

Although the use of self-reported questionnaires always introduce possible bias for skewed study findings, it’s important to note that compared with women who did not use caffeine, caffeine users scored higher for vasomotor symptoms. Moreover, even after the researchers accounted for possible confounding factors such as smoking and menopausal status, ingesting caffeinated beverages was still significantly associated with an increase in bothersome hot flashes and night sweats. Evidently, caffeine use did not affect other common symptoms, such as sleep issues or sexual function).

A possible explanation lies with way that caffeine possibly interacts with the body’s estrogen; for example, it may inhibit an enzyme that converts the hormone androgen into estrogen. Another theory is that is affects the levels of other sex hormones, such as testosterone. Regardless, if you are experiencing frequent hot flashes and night sweats and have come to your wit’s end, you may want to consider how you are using caffeine. Breaking up is hard to do but it may save you a drop or two of that sweaty, hot stuff!


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