Caffeine May Worsen Hot Flashes, Night Sweats

Symptoms were worse in postmenopausal women but mood and memory improved in those near menopause

/ Author:  / Reviewed by: Joseph V. Madia, MD Beth Bolt, RPh

(RxWiki News) Most people in the US consume caffeine on a daily basis. But menopausal women might not know their morning coffee could be making their symptoms worse.

A recent study linked caffeine consumption with more intense menopause symptoms like hot flashes and night sweats. The same study showed improved mood and memory in perimenopausal (near menopause) women.

The researchers recommended that menopausal women with bothersome symptoms limit their caffeine intake and seek other ways to stay alert.

"Stay active and healthy during menopause to manage symptoms."

This study was conducted by Stephanie S. Faubion, MD, director of Mayo Clinic's Women’s Health Clinic in Rochester, MN, and colleagues.

Menopause usually occurs in women between 45 and 50 years old and is marked by menstruation (periods) stopping.

The researchers used the Menopause Health Questionnaire — a comprehensive list of questions that covered information about menopause and related symptoms — to gather data. Between July 2005 and July 2011, 2,507 women completed the survey.

Of those who answered the questionnaire, 1,806 met the criteria for being in the study. The participants had an average age of 53.7 years. Approximately 84 percent reported consuming caffeine, the study authors reported.

The researchers compared menopausal symptom intensity between those who consumed caffeine and those who didn't.

Caffeine consumption increased the intensity of hot flashes and night sweats, the researchers reported. Hot flashes and night sweats were the most common menopausal symptoms — found in 79 percent of perimenopausal and 65 percent of postmenopausal women.

“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,” Dr. Faubion said in a press release. “Menopause symptoms can be challenging but there are many management strategies to try.”

Although the authors of this study found negative effects of caffeine on physical menopause symptoms, they also found that it improved mood and memory in premenopausal participants.

Caffeine did not appear to affect other menopausal symptoms like sleep troubles and bowel or bladder issues, the researchers reported.

This study was published online July 21 in Menopause. The researchers reported no conflicts of interest.

Review Date: 
July 23, 2014
Last Updated:
September 10, 2014