August 1, 2016
The caffeine in your morning cup of coffee just may be kick-starting one of the symptoms of menopause: hot flashes. That’s the word from a study by the Mayo Clinic.
Reporting in the journal Menopause, researchers found that post-menopausal women who consume caffeine have more bothersome hot flashes and night sweats than women who aren’t drinking caffeinated coffee, tea or sodas.
What the Study Means for You
Although the study is preliminary, the large study examined an association between caffeine and hot flashes, which occur in 79 percent of women in the years before menopause (perimenopause) and in 65 percent of postmenopausal women. Previous research found mixed results on a caffeine-hot flashes connection.
The latest data came from 1,800 female patients at the Mayo Clinic between July 2005 and July 2011, who were asked to provide menopause-health information and rate the severity of their symptoms. Researchers then compared the symptoms of women who used caffeine with those who didn’t.
The study had an interesting twist for pre-menopausal women who showed improved memory and concentration, possibly because we already know caffeine enhances mood and attention. These improvements were not experienced by women past menopause.
What You Can Do
Because participants weren’t asked how much caffeine they consumed, researchers can’t tell you how much is too much. However, if you’re pre-menopausal, the Mayo Clinic study indicates you can benefit from caffeine. If you’re already experiencing hot flashes, you might want to limit your caffeine intake and see if this helps alleviate your symptoms. Making other lifestyle changes can help too:
- Dress in layers
- Learn new ways to relax
- Exercise regularly, but not too close to bedtime
- Eat a healthy diet
- Don’t smoke
- Talk to family and friends
- Keep a menopause diary
While more definitive research is needed to confirm the Mayo Clinic’s findings, you may benefit by restricting your caffeine intake. And what do you have to lose…except perhaps some hot flashes?