Intake of Caffeine Worsens Menopausal Hot flashes and Night Sweats

First Posted: Jul 25, 2014 03:11 AM EDT

A new study highlights a strong association between intake of caffeine and hot flashes and night sweats in post-menopausal women.

Several years after menopause, older women may still suffer from hot flashes and night sweats. A recent study by researchers at the University of Pennsylvania found that more than one-third of women have hot flashes even 10 years after menopause. Hot flashes is defined as the episode of intense radiating heat that women experience at the time of menopause. This causes discomfort, embarrassment and disruption of sleep. Many foods are thought to contribute to or worsen symptoms of hot flashes and night sweats.

The latest Mayo Clinic study found that caffeine intake may worsen menopausal hot flashes. They also found that caffeine intake is associated with fewer problems with mood, memory and concentration in perimenopausal women, may be because caffeine is known to enhance arousal, mood and attention.

In this study, the researchers conducted a survey using the Menopause Health Questionnaire that includes personal habits and ratings of menopausal symptom presence and severity. Nearly 2,507 women, who presented with menopausal concerns at the Women's Health Clinic at Mayo Clinic between 2005 and 2011, completed the questionnaire. The researchers further analyzed data of 1,806 women who met all the inclusion criteria. They then compared the menopausal symptom ratings between caffeine users and non-users.

Nearly 85 percent of the U.S. population consume some form of caffeine beverage on a daily basis. The most commonly reported menopausal symptom is vasomotor symptom (hot flashes and night sweats) that is present in 79 percent of the perimenopausal women and 65 percent of postmenopausal women.

Studies, conducted earlier, have highlighted that intake of caffeine worsens menopausal vasomotor symptoms. But, this was challenging as caffeine has both positive and negative effects on hot flashes.

"While these findings are preliminary, our study suggests that limiting caffeine intake may be useful for those postmenopausal women who have bothersome hot flashes and night sweats," said Stephanie Faubion, M.D., director of the Women's Health Clinic at Mayo Clinic in Rochester. "Menopause symptoms can be challenging but there are many management strategies to try."

The researchers suggest certain strategies that include avoiding spicy food and hot beverages, limit alcohol and tobacco, maintaining healthy weight by exercising regularly and staying active.

The finding was documented in journal Menopause.

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