Studies haven’t seemed to agree when it comes to the link between caffeine and the vasomotor symptoms of menopause (hot flashes and night sweats). Some evidence suggests caffeine may help such symptoms, while other studies indicate caffeine does more harm than good. A new Mayo Clinic study, however, tilts the balance in favor of negative, showing that caffeine can make hot flashes and night sweats significantly more unbearable.
Turn up the Air Condition—It’s Hot in Here!
Did you know that 85% of Americans drink some type of caffeinated beverage daily? And an estimated 79% of perimenopausal women and 65% of postmenopausal women suffer from hot flashes and night sweats. The Mayo Clinic study, published in the journal Menopause, suggests that these percentages may be somewhat correlated.
Researchers surveyed 2,507 women who presented with menopausal symptoms at the Women’s Health Clinic at Mayo Clinic in Rochester from 2005-2011. Of those surveyed, 1,806 met all inclusion criteria. Data, collected from the Menopause Health Questionnaire which included information as to personal habits and menopausal symptoms and severity, was compared between those who drank caffeine and those who did not. Results showed an irrefutable link between caffeine intake and more prevalent and severe hot flashes and night sweats.
Stephanie Faubion, M.D., director of the Women’s Health Clinic, says, “While these findings are preliminary, our study suggests that limiting caffeine intake may be useful for those postmenopausal women who have bothersome hot flashes and night sweats.”
In addition to cutting out the caffeine, you may want to try the following suggestions to help you with hot flashes and night sweats:
- Notice what exacerbates your symptoms, like spicy foods and hot beverages.
- Cut back on alcohol consumption.
- Implement a stress-relieving program made up of meditation, yoga, or tai chi.
- Exercise regularly.
- Talk to your doctor or alternative health care practitioner about hormone therapy and balancing herbs.