There is a great deal of variation in how women experience the natural transition during the menopausal years and the severity of symptoms each person feels. Many menopausal symptoms, including hot flashes, difficulty sleeping, vaginal dryness, osteoporosis and increased risk of heart attack, are exacerbated by coffee drinking and caffeine consumption. Coffee drinking is also associated with difficulty emptying the bladder fully (Bradley, et al, 2005).
Coffee And The Onset Of Menopause
Coffee consumption is one of the factors implicated in accelerating the age at which menopause begins. (Biela, 2002); (Nagata, et al, 1998); (Nagata, et al, 2000)
Hot Flashes and Sleep
Poor sleep quality or short sleep duration are both factors that increase severity of menopausal symptoms such as hot flashes and depression. Coffee drinking interrupts sleep and increases intensity of hot flashes. (Hollander, et al, 2001). Caffeine intake and coffee consumption are both known to interfere with sleep quality and duration.
The amount of coffee a person drinks is related to rates of hot flashes: Women who drink less coffee report lower rates of experiencing hot flashes. (Park, et al, 2003) Generally, it is recommended that women who experience hot flashes reduce coffee consumption. (Lucero and McCloskey, 1997)
Menopause and the Heart
Women’s risk factors for heart disease and heart attacks increase after menopause. Heart-related conditions are the primary cause of death for women. Caffeine and coffee consumption adversely affects cholesterol and other lipid levels, homocysteine, blood pressure, arrhythmias and stress levels, all of which are factors implicated in increasing the risk of heart disease. (Salvaggio, et al, 1991), (Aro, et al, 1989), (Green and Harari, 1992), (Verhoef, et al, 2002)
When hormones like estrogen decrease (as is the case in the transition of menopause), the risk of osteoporosis can increase. The effects of coffee and caffeine on bone mineral density can have a greater impact in these situations. Read more about coffee, caffeine, osteoporosis and bone density here.
References (by alphabetical order)
Aro A, Pietinen P, Uusitalo U, Tuomilehto J. 1989. Coffee and tea consumption, dietary fat intake and serum cholesterol concentration of Finnish men and women. Journal of Internal Medicine. 226(6):127-32.
Biela, U. 2002. Determinants of the age at Natural Menopause. Przeglad lekarski 59(3):165-9.
Bradley, C.S., Kennedy, C.M., Nygaard, I.E. 2005. Pelvic floor syptoms and lifestyle factors in older women. Women’s Health. 14(2): 128-36.
Green MS, Harari G. 1992. Association of serum lipoproteins and health-related habits with coffee and tea consumption in free-living subjects examined in the Israeli CORDIS Study. Preventive medicine. 21(4):532-45.
Hollander, L.E., Freeman, E.W., Sammel, M.D., Berlin, J.A., Grisso, J.A., and Battistini, M. 2001. Sleep quality, estradiol levels, and behavioral factors in late reproductive age women. Obstetrics and Gynecology. 98(3):391-7.
Lucero, M.A. and McCloskey, W.W. 1997. Alternatives to estrogen for the treatment of hot flashes. The Annals of Pharmacotherapy. 31(7-8):915-7.
Nagata, C., Takatsuka, N., Inaba, S., Kawakami, N. and Shimizu, H. 1998. Association of diet and other lifestyle with onset of menopause in Japanese women. Maturitas. 29(2):105-13.
Nagata, C., Takatsuka, N., Kawakami, N., and Shimizu, H. 2000. Association of diet with the onset of menopause in Japanese women. American Journal of Epidemiology. 152(9):863-7.
Park, Y.J., Paik, H.Y., Kim, Y.J., Hong, S.S., Kim, M.J., Yoon, J.W. and Moon, S.H. 2003.
Association of Diet with Menopausal Symptoms in Korean Middle-aged Women. Taehan Kanho Hakhoe chi. 33(3):386-94.
Salvaggio, A., Periti, M., Miano, L., Quaglia, G. and Marzorati, D. 1991. Coffee and cholesterol, an Italian study. American Journal of Epidemiology. 134(2):149-56.
Verhoef, P., Pasman, W.J., Van Vliet, T., Urgert, R. and Katan, M.B. 2002. Contribution of caffeine to the homocysteine-raising effect of coffee: a randomized controlled trial in humans. American Journal of Clinical Nutrition. 76(6):1244-8.