July 2014

Caffeine Might Worsen Menopausal Symptoms

A new study suggests that caffeine use is linked to increased menopausal symptoms in postmenopausal women.

As many as 85% of women experience hot flashes during menopause. Hot flashes are vasomotor symptoms that cause a warm or hot flushed sensation that usually begins in the head and face and then radiates down the neck to other parts of the body. There may be red blotches on the skin. They can happen any time of day or night. If they happen at night (such as night sweats), they can interrupt sleep. Loss of sleep can eventually lead to irritability and fatigue.

In a recent study, researchers at the Mayo Clinic conducted a comprehensive survey on 2,507 women with menopausal symptoms between 2005 and 2011. Data on 1,806 women from the survey were ultimately included in the analysis.

The researchers found that women who used caffeine had significantly greater symptom scores for hot flashes and night sweats when compared to women who did not use caffeine. The authors noted that these findings remained significant even after adjusting the data for smoking and menopause status.

The authors concluded that using caffeine, including regularly drinking coffee, is linked to increased hot flashes and night sweats, suggesting that decreasing caffeine use might result in decreased symptoms. Further research is warranted.

Many integrative therapies have been studied for their potential effects on menopausal symptoms. Black cohosh is a popular alternative to prescription hormonal therapy for the treatment of symptoms, including hot flashes. Initial human research suggests that black cohosh might improve some of these symptoms for up to one year. However, the current evidence is mixed, and additional research needed.

For information about caffeine, please visit Natural Standard’s Food, Herbs & Supplements Database.

For information about integrative therapies for menopausal symptoms, please visit Natural Standard’s Comparative Effectiveness Database.


  1. Faubion SS, Sood R, Thielen JM, et al. Caffeine and menopausal symptoms: what is the association? Menopause. 2014 Jul 21.
  2. Natural Standard: The Authority on Integrative Medicine. 

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