Effects of Caffeine on Menopausal Women

Caffeine Can Be Problematic

Even though there are many research studies that show the benefits of caffeine in moderate consumption, there are times in life when drinking caffeine may not be the best idea. Caffeine can cause the exacerbation of certain symptoms of disease in a person's body - for instance in the case of heart disease. Another place caffeine consumption can be problematic is in menopause. Excessive caffeine at any time is not good, but when women who are menopausal take in high levels of caffeine, the results are less than pleasant.

What Are Some Symptoms that Can Become Worse?

Menopause is a natural transition in the life of a woman and even though the symptoms may differ from one woman to another in both presentation and severity, all women will go through the process.

Some of the common symptoms of menopause include:

· Hot flashes

· Night sweats

· Forgetfulness

· Vaginal dryness

· Weight gain

· Insomnia

· Heightened risk of heart disease

· Heightened risk of osteoporosis

Most of these symptoms can be negatively impacted with caffeine, causing them to be worse than they would be if no caffeine were ingested.

The Net Effect of High Levels of Caffeine

High levels of caffeine affect the major organs of the body, increasing heart rate, blood flow, respiratory rate, and metabolic rate for hours, especially when caffeine is ingested all day long. Once it is absorbed into the bloodstream it charges and stimulates the nervous system and the cardiovascular system.

High levels of caffeine also deplete the body of calcium, which is something a menopausal woman cannot afford. Mineral absorption is also affected by too much caffeine which reduces the re-absorption of magnesium and calcium in the kidneys so the minerals are excreted in the urine. Calcium is critical to bone, heart and nervous system health and magnesium is important to utilization of glucose, metabolism of energy, heart function and hormonal balance. Iron is also hampered in absorption when there are high levels of caffeine in the body. An iron deficiency results in anemia and menopausal women have difficulty compensating for the loss of minerals. Of course, with the reduction in calcium there is the obvious result of weakened bones and propensity to osteoporosis. Women who consume large quantities of caffeine have shown an increased rate of bone loss, especially when they don't have enough calcium in their diet to begin with.

How High Levels of Caffeine Affect the Heart

Stress hormones are elevated by caffeine and a rise in their levels can trigger panic response in the cardiovascular system. Oxygen to the extremities is reduced and the immune system is suppressed. Although in normal situations this panic response provides a temporary boost of energy during an emergency - the fight or flight response - when a woman is post-menopausal and sedentary, the results may be catastrophic.

Parkinson's Risk

Another negative effect of too much caffeine in the system is a contraindication with hormone replacement therapies. When consumed with some medications, the breakdown of caffeine in the body is slowed down, keeping it there for a longer period of time. This is the case with antibiotics. Post-menopausal women tend to experience the worst symptoms when it comes to excessive caffeine consumption. Coffee and hormone pills are implicated in Parkinson's disease. Research has shown a tie between HRT and high caffeine consumption and this disease that robs a person of the ability to control their muscles.

Listen to Your Body

The negative effects of caffeine are related to high levels of consumption. Menopause can make a woman extremely sensitive to caffeine, so it is important to watch how you are responding to that cup of coffee in the morning. If it heightens your menopausal symptoms, stop drinking it. Be aware of how you respond and you will be able to define whether caffeine will fit into your life in moderation or if you need to leave it alone.


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