In the Journals

Caffeine may lead to more bothersome vasomotor symptoms

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August 1, 2014

The intake of caffeine was positively associated with more bothersome vasomotor symptoms in postmenopausal women, according to research published in Menopause.

“In this study, the use of caffeine was associated with greater vasomotor symptom bother in women aged 40 years or older,” Stephanie S. Faubion, MD, and colleagues from the Women’s Health Clinic at the Mayo Clinic in Rochester, Minn., wrote. “Interestingly, we found evidence suggesting that caffeine consumption was associated with a decrease in neurocognitive symptom bother, but only in premenopausal women and not in postmenopausal women.”

The researchers analyzed data from 1,806 women (mean age, 53.7 years) who completed the Menopause Health Questionnaire from 2005 to 2011 and compared symptom ratings for women who used caffeine (84%) against those who did not. Sixty-nine percent of women reported they were postmenopausal, and only 7% were current smokers.

Initial analysis showed that caffeine use was associated with mean vasomotor symptom scores (2.3 in caffeine users vs. 2.15 in nonusers; P=.011), and that association remained significant after adjustment for menopause status and cigarette smoking (P=.027).

Additionally, after that multivariable adjustment, caffeine use was associated with decreased neurocognitive symptom bother (P=.035). This led the researchers to analyze further and conclude that premenopausal caffeine users reported lower neurocognitive symptom bother than nonusers (2 vs. 2.19; P=.03). This relationship did not appear to apply to postmenopausal women.

The researchers added that these results have not be fully validated, and they were unable to control for hormone therapy use, which may have had an additional effect on vasomotor and neurocognitive symptoms.

“Given the exploratory nature of this study, we cannot make conclusions on how clinicians should advise symptomatic perimenopausal or postmenopausal women about caffeine use in relation to their menopausal symptoms,” the researchers wrote. “Future investigations using well-validated questionnaires to assess menopausal symptoms, caffeine intake, diet, physical activity, and hormone therapy use in large samples of midlife women would be helpful.”

Disclosure: This project was supported by a grant from the National Center for Advancing Translational Sciences.