Excessive caffeine at any time is not good, but when post-menopausal women take in high levels of caffeine, the results can be unpleasant — but definitely not unmanageable.
At the end of last year, The Menopause Exchange registered dietitian Angie Jefferson explored the pros and cons of coffee drinking, deeming caffeine found in the nation’s favourite drink to have negative influences on a women’s post-menopausal health.
“Media reports can be very conflicting, so it’s difficult to know how much our tea and coffee intake is affecting how we feel,” says Norma Goldman, founder and director of The Menopause Exchange. She and colleague, Angie Jefferson, provide us with the facts and also take a look at the impact of drinking coffee on hot flushes.
Increased heart rate
Experts from Menopause Health Matters have advised that a post-menopausal woman can experience an increased heart rate even after “the change”, rising from between eight and 16 beats per minute. This can increase anxiety and encourage dizziness. If you feel like this, try eating snacks that are high in sugar and complex carbohydrates, like jam on white bread or sweet granola bars and honey. Make sure to drink plenty of water alongside your coffee and avoid fizzy drinks in the morning.
Menopause Now confirms that even post-menopausal women are likely to continue to experience hot flushes after “the change”. Findings from a study by The Mayo Clinic in America suggest that limiting caffeine, “may be very useful for women who have bothersome hot flushes and night sweats,” says their Director of Women’s Health, Dr. Stephanie Faubion.
Experts took a poll of 1,800 menopausal women between 2005 and 2011 whose outlined symptoms were compared between caffeine users and nonusers of the same ages. A handful of women said that caffeine often boosted their moods temporarily and helped memory and concentration. However NHS research shows that the effects of caffeine only last up to six hours (depending how strong your coffee is). Short term fixes are not really fixes at all.
Being aware of your symptoms will give you indicators of when you should avoid drinking coffee and for how long. Essentially — get to know your symptoms and you’ll get to know your body’s tolerance for caffeine.
Caffeine affects the metabolism in several ways. It causes the release of fatty acids from fat tissue and affects the kidneys by increasing urine output, which ultimately leads to dehydration. According to the Mayo Clinic, the average adult loses in excess of ten cups of water per day. Due to hormonal fluctuations, night sweats and hot flushes, menopausal and post-menopausal women lose more. Ensure you drink the recommended eight glasses of water per day to maintain healthy hydration levels. According to Healthline, drinking 500ml of water can temporarily boost metabolism by 24%-30%, meaning your nutrients are held longer and your body is kept stronger.
Things to look out for
- Face flushing red
- Change in heartbeat (namely rapid and sudden)
- Chills when in a warm room
- Sweating and an intense heat in the body
- Occasional lack of sleep