Effects of caffeine in menopause

by Carol
(Los Angeles)

I've just discovered coffee! The robust flavor, the way it makes me feel more alert at work...but I am worried about the effects of caffeine, especially now that I'm 51 and in menopause. Do you agree it should be avoided? And how does it affect weight gain, hot flashes and other menopausal symptoms? Also, are there more healthy pick-me-ups you can suggest?

Hi Carol,
I'm afraid that the effects of caffeine in menopause are not good, and you should try to cut down on your coffee intake, or cut it out completely.

There are several negative effects of caffeine in menopause:

  • It prevents the body from absorbing certain minerals properly, including calcium, essential for strong bones and to prevent osteoporosis, as well as magnesium and iron. Going short of these minerals could affect your health in many ways.

  • Women who drink coffee tend to have worse menopausal symptoms like hot flashes. Caffeine can also stop you sleeping, which can in turn create hormonal imbalances as your body produces more cortisol, the hormone which encourages your body to lay down fat around the midriff.

  • The amount of stress-related hormones in your blood stream rises when you drink coffee, and this can make you feel panicky or anxious.

If you decide to cut out coffee completely, do it gradually, substituting decaffeinated coffee or herbal teas. Or limit yourself to one cup in the morning, to avoid any problem with sleeplessness.

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