Recently a friend asked me about the link between caffeine and the frequency and extremity of menopausal symptoms.
It's not the first time a menopausal woman has asked me, with palpable despair, whether they're going to have to give up one of their greatest daily pleasures - their coffee!
I can really relate to this quandary - I have severe ADHD and there is a lot of misinformation out there telling individuals with ADHD to cut out caffeine, when actually it is a neurological stimulant that massively helps me manage my ADHD symptoms. It increases the dopamine availability in my brain and genuinely calms me down. I also really enjoy it, and the importance of that enjoyment should not be underestimated, under any circumstances!
The more I've read about caffeine and the menopause, the more I've realised that it’s a similar situation. There are loads of "wellness" blogs out there telling menopausal women to immediately completely eliminate coffee and chocolate and other delicious things from their diet.
But actually, there isn't a single, simple answer. There are pros and cons to caffeine where the menopause is concerned, and every individual is different.
So what’s the science?
There has been a lot of conflicting research on whether caffeine has an influence on the extremity and frequency of menopausal symptoms.
There are indeed studies that suggest that there may be a link between caffeine use and vasomotor menopause symptoms — namely, hot flashes and night sweats.
But at the same time, there are studies like this 2014 one of 2507 menopausal women that suggest women with higher caffeine intake experience fewer menopausal problems with mood, memory and concentration (ie - the neurological menopause symptoms).
I’m even more confused! So what does this mean for me?!
We can safely say that over the years, caffeine and the menopause have been both positively and negatively linked.
If you regularly consume caffeine and you're troubled by vasomotor symptoms like hot flushes or night sweats, the Mayo Clinic says you might consider cutting back on or eliminating caffeine from your diet to see if that eases your symptoms.
If drinking coffee is helping you to ease neurological symptoms such as mood swings, or issues with memory or concentration, then keep enjoying it.
Remember, you are unique. Blanket advice isn’t necessarily right for everyone, we all need to listen to our own bodies and find out what makes us tick.
A great option to keep enjoying your coffee but still reduce your caffeine intake is TrueStart’s new range of super clean, super flavoursome decaffeinated coffees. From Barista Grade Instant Coffee to specialty grade Fresh Brazilian Beans and Ground, reducing your caffeine intake doesn’t have to mean forgoing your delicious coffee!