How Caffeine Messed with My Cycle

I absolutely LOVE coffee.

 
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At one point in my life, I was drinking over 10 cups a day. Which sounds insane, but I actually started drinking small amount of coffee when I was still in elementary school. I used to wake up super early and sneak down to the kitchen where my dad had already made a big pot of coffee and he let me have a tiny cup after begging every morning. I was doomed from the beginning! So when I was working two jobs and studying for finals on top of a over full semester at college, caffeine was my lifeline to be able to power through each day as I was often on the go from 6am to 10pm or later.

It was not until I ran out of coffee at home while on a school break one day that I realized how strong my addiction to it had become. My body didn’t get its usual fix and I got a crazy migraine. I've had so many friends complain about headaches through the years, but this was the first time I experienced a headache! It was so severe that I had to close the blinds and hide in bed crying from the pain. When my brother came home and found me, he was actually worried because he had never seen me like this. It was my mom who figured it was because I hadn’t had my daily dose of caffeine that day. My brother made me a cup and I ended up vomiting from withdrawals after smelling it.

Though caffeine didn’t show as an intolerance when I did a food sensitivity test at my Naturopath, I found out that it messed with me when I came off it the first time. Learning how addicted I was to it, I decided to slowly wean myself off it over the course of two months which sounds like a long time, but when you're drinking 10 cups a day, you need to take it slow. All of a sudden, my period that had completely stopped for about 9 months since coming off the pill came back! A year after, I started slowly to drink coffee again (I just can't help it... I love the taste and the morning ritual!), and yet again, my cycle stopped.

After going through this caffeine relapse a few times, I realized that it had played a huge role in balancing my hormones. Today, I have one or two cups (usually decaf) a week and that works for me, but I will not be able to go back to that everyday fix. Thank god for Matcha lattes!

 

Caffeine and your hormones

Caffeine depletes the body of micronutrients

Coffee is a diuretic and can cause an imbalance in your gut which creates a bad environment for the body to absorb necessary minerals and electrolytes. Caffeine can cause sleep problems, irritability, anxiety, and high blood pressure. Drinking coffee at any time during the day can contribute to lack of sleep or insomnia. Without a proper nights sleep, the body lacks healthy hormone production and you will tend to lean towards a cup of coffee in the morning to wake you up.

caffeine can intensify adrenal problems

The adrenal glands release a hormone called cortisol, which keeps your body regulated during times of stress, supports blood sugar balance, and immune system regulation. As caffeine intensifies your adrenal problems, it may worsen thyroid issues, autoimmune diseases, and impact fertility. Coffee may give you a short burst of energy needed to get through the morning, but it has a long term consequences that may make an existing problem worse.

 

coffee alternatives

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Remember, we are all different. Caffeine may not agree with me, but that doesn’t mean it has to be bad for you!

foodMichaela Sadlowski