Every morning, you wake up and get your hot cup of coffee. Then, you drink more coffee throughout your day at work. Or, you love sipping on a caffeinated soda. If you are a heavy caffeine drinker, you might want to reconsider your intake. We wanted to share with you how caffeine affects every cycle of your life and what you can do to help limit your intake.
Menstrual Cycle and Caffeine
You have probably heard that drinking caffeine can elevate your PMS symptoms. However, multiple studies have proven this popular belief to be wrong. Drinking caffeine won’t directly cause more painful cramps, mood swings, or breast tenderness (1). However, there are some ways that caffeine can affect your menstrual cycle.
A study found that women who have elevated caffeine intakes have generally shorter menstrual cycles. The average cycle for women is 28 days, but heavy caffeine drinkers will generally have a 24 day cycle. The study concluded this is because caffeine is linked with constricting uterine blood vessels and in turn reduces uterine blood flow and the length of your period (2).
Fertility & Pregnancy and Caffeine
The biggest problem with drinking caffeine when you are trying to get pregnant or are pregnant is the risk of miscarriage. An observational study found that that women are 74% more likely to miscarriage if they are heavy caffeine drinkers before and/or during early pregnancy. And this isn’t just for women! Men need to lay off the caffeine too prior to conception (3).
Other studies have been done to find if caffeine causes birth defects, pre-term delivery and low birth weight. However, not many have been conclusive. Still, we suggest playing it safe while you're pregnant and limiting yourself to only 200mg of caffeine a day (one cup of coffee).
Menopause and Caffeine
The most common finding of caffeine is with women who are in post-menopause. Women who intake a heavy amount of caffeine after menopause were found to have more problems vasomotor symptoms (4). Vasomotor symptoms are related to blood vessel regulation.
Additionally, some people associate their fatigue or hot flashes with coffee intake. While there is not conclusive evidence that this is true, we still suggest cutting out caffeine during menopause to see if these symptoms go away.
Tips for laying off the Caffeine
Don’t stop all at once
If you suddenly cut all caffeine out of your diet, your might feel overwhelming fatigue or other symptoms. Try eliminating caffeine slowly.
Switch it up
Trying going for decaf beverages. If you are a coffee drinker, switch to tea so you still get that hot beverage in the morning. If you love caffeinated sodas, switch over to ones that aren’t caffeinated or sparkling waters to still get the bubbly taste you love.
Some caffeine is okay
In most cases, you can still have some caffeine. So coffee drinkers no fear, just limit yourselves to about two cups a day (or 200 mg of coffee).