When you get out of bed, what’s the first thing you do? Do you reach for the coffee pot for some caffeinated goodness to get your day rolling? Or maybe you like to stop at your favorite coffee shop on your way to work.
Even though caffeine makes the world go ’round, research suggests it contributes to menopause symptoms and other negative health effects. It might be hard to imagine getting through your day without a jolt of caffeine to keep you moving, but before you decide you can never give it up, it’s important to understand how caffeine affects your body. Also, keep in mind that there are other ways to boost energy and focus throughout the day that don’t rely on caffeine.
Caffeine’s Effect on Menopause Symptoms
While menopause is a normal part of growing older, the symptoms of menopause can make you downright miserable. It’s not uncommon to experience hot flashes, sleepless nights, and mood swings during this transitional period. You may also find intimacy with your partner is difficult or even painful.
Caffeine seems to compound these problems. According to a study published in the journal Menopause, postmenopausal women who drink caffeine in coffee, tea, or soda have hot flashes and night sweats that are worse compared to women who skip these types of beverages. These vasomotor symptoms might be worse for menopausal women because of the way caffeine causes the diameter of blood vessels in the body to change, according to the Mayo Clinic.
As if that wasn’t enough, other research published in the Alexandria Journal of Medicine indicates postmenopausal women who consume 200mg per day of caffeine, or roughly two cups of coffee, are more at risk for bone fractures, especially hip fractures. This could be because caffeine increases the amount of calcium you excrete in your urine. For many women, especially those going through the menopausal transition, excreting excess calcium could lead to a decrease in bone density, making fractures more likely.
Boosting Energy Without Caffeine
Fortunately, there are ways to amp up your energy throughout your day that don’t involve caffeine. Nourishing foods provide a natural energy boost to help keep you moving. According to the 2015 Dietary Guidelines for Americans, your diet should include foods from a variety of food groups, including vegetables, fruits, whole grains, and low-fat dairy products. Eating different types of proteins, like seafood, lean meats, and nuts, also provides you with long-lasting energy throughout your day.
It may seem counterintuitive, but increasing the amount of exercise you get throughout your week can also help increase your energy levels. Even low-intensity exercise three to four times weekly can make a tremendous difference in your overall energy levels. The trick is establishing an exercise routine and then sticking to it.
If you’re really craving a cup of something hot in the mornings, consider switching to decaffeinated tea. Green tea is an especially good choice, and research in the Journal of Cancer Prevention may indicate that this type of tea can help prevent cancer.
Handling Other Menopause Symptoms
One of the most troubling aspects of menopause can be intimacy problems, which are often caused by symptoms of menopause. Fortunately, certain medical laser treatments for vaginal health, like the MonaLisa Touch®, are designed to help restore intimacy in your relationship and increase your quality of life. Talk to your doctor to find out if a laser treatment is the right option for you.
Even though it’s hard to give up that morning cup of coffee, you’ll soon notice an improvement in your menopause symptoms and overall health. Cutting caffeine from your diet can help to reduce symptoms like hot flashes and may help prevent more serious complications, like bone fractures. If you’re concerned about how caffeine may be affecting your menopause symptoms, talk with your doctor. He or she will be able to make treatment recommendations that will most benefit you.