A new study suggests that coffee and other sources of caffeine might make hot flashes and night sweats worse in menopausal women. (Note: Do not email this story to your mom. Being told that she should give up her coffee or Diet Coke is the last thing a grouchy menopausal woman needs to hear.)
However, the study found that for women transitioning into menopause — perimenopausal women — caffeine improved mood, memory and concentration, “possibly because caffeine is known to enhance arousal, mood and attention,” according to the researchers.
The study was based on data from a survey of more than 1,800 women conducted between 2005 and 2011. Symptoms were compared between caffeine users and nonusers.
Researchers found that caffeine increased the severity of hot flashes. "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," Stephanie Faubion, MD, director of the Women's Health Clinic at the Mayo Clinic, said in a news release.
Most people in the U.S – about 85% — consume some form of caffeine. Besides coffee, it is found in medications, tea, colas, chocolate and of course that “energy shot” crap.
Hot flashes occur in about 79% of perimenopausal women and 65% of postmenopausal women. This study, published July 23 in the journal Menopause, is the first one to show that the stimulant is both positively and negatively linked to menopausal symptoms.
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"Menopause symptoms can be challenging, but there are many management strategies to try," Faubion said. One way to gain some control over
insanely aggravating bothersome symptoms is to be careful about what one eats, she said. That means generally forgoing spicy food and hot beverages, as well as caffeine, alcohol and tobacco, she said. (Alcohol and tobacco too?! And spicy food? What does a postmenopausal woman have left to live for? The Fifty Shades of Grey movie?)
You can also try dunking your head in a bucket of ice and staying away from all those annoying people.