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10 Ways Caffeine May Worsen Meno Symptoms

women in cafe with coffee

A Cup Of Joe.

Supping on a regular cup of joe has become a bit of a movement over the last few years. Go back a couple of decades and it was a pub on every corner (well, in Australia anyway). These days it’s more likely to be a café on every corner with a few stores in between corners as well.

Pros & Cons

The thing is – even after doing my health training – coffee confuses me. On the one hand, it’s filled with antioxidants and studies have shown it may help prevent depression, some cancers and Type II diabetes and have a moderate preventative effect against Alzheimer’s and Parkinson’s. And then there’s the feel-good ritual effect.

On the other hand, studies have linked caffeine with miscarriage, insomnia and mood swings.

Caffeine Metabolism

It depends how you personally metabolise caffeine. When you take a sip, caffeine is absorbed into your bloodstream through the mouth, throat and tummy.

According to caffeineinformer, it takes 45 minutes for 99% of it to be absorbed through these membranes and the effects will last for four to six hours. When it exits the body we can experience a crash – fatigue/tiredness.

Caffeine is metabolised by the liver using certain genes. The DNA sequence of this gene dictates how sensitive you are to caffeine.

barista - coffee

There are three levels of sensitivity:

  1. Hypersensitivity: may experience insomnia, jitters, increase heart rate.
  2. Normal: no troubles as long as consumed early in the day.
  3. Hyposensitive: no adverse effects.

So, the upshot of it all seems to be that if you’re not genetically hypersensitive and completely healthy and feeling great coffee is fine. Drink and enjoy.

Ditching Caffeine In the Meno Years

If you’re not well, have a disease or disorder or – and this one’s for us girls – are going through menopause it’s probably best to ditch caffeine for a while.

Argh! I can hear all the groans of you coffee lovers out there but there are good reasons I’m suggesting this, so hear me out. It’s my job to try and guide you to your best meno years.

At the end of the day the choice is yours of course but if you’re suffering from meno symptoms this could go a long way to making your journey less painful.

My Journey

On my own journey I’ve been able to take or leave coffee most of my life but the last few years, I’ve loved my soy cappuccino. When it began triggering hot flushes I was in denial, and don’t even talk to me about anxiety – I didn’t even connect the two – even with all of my knowledge.

Now I have an autoimmune disease as well so coffee is a no-no (FYI coffee is a no-no for any inflammatory conditions). So for me, coffee is out. However, full transparency, sometimes I cave. And no, I don’t get away with it. In fact, I go backwards on my health journey and it triggers pain.

Silly me right?

Here are 10 side effects to consider:

  1. Coffee’s a bit like sugar in that it can give you a dopamine spike and deliver an energy burst and buzz before you have a sharp drop. See link below.
  2. Caffeine increases blood sugar levels, which causes cortisol to be released. This is not great for your adrenals, sleep, waist measurement, mood, energy or immune system. (Or if, like me, you have an inflammatory condition.)
  3. It’s well known that caffeine can interfere with sleep, which, again, is not so great for Meno-She’s who often have trouble in this area anyway. Some people are OK with it, but if sleep’s an issue for you it’s best to steer clear.
  4. Caffeine can make you moody.
  5. Caffeine can trigger hot flushes.
  6. It can trigger cravings for carbs and sugars. It’s like I mentioned in the first point, caffeine can act a bit like sugar bringing on the need for a fix.
  7. Caffeine can damage the gut. It’s all about the gut these days, isn’t it? But that’s because we know more and the fact is that so much happens in the gut. It’s where our immunity lies along with our happiness so it’s important to keep it healthy and happy. Coffee is a stimulant and releases gastrin, the main gastric hormone which is OK if you’re doing well digestively. Not so if you’re not (and so many people aren’t these days).
  8. It can relax the smooth muscles like the colon, which is why some people get the ‘runs’ after a coffee.
  9. Caffeine can affect the thyroid and as the meno years can impact the thyroid anyway it’s a bit like adding fuel to the fire.
  10. One reason caffeine contributes to inflammatory conditions (like chronic pain and autoimmune disease) is that it’s acidic to the body. A healthy body is an alkaline body so when it’s veering to the acidic or lower pH it may contribute to osteoporosis which Meno-She’s are more vulnerable to anyway.

Questions. Feel free to sing out here.

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