I love coffee, I was not really something I grew up with, as I was from a tea drinking household, but I have really come to love it over the past few years. Andre reminded me, when I told him I had quit, that apparently I had said ( in jest) you can’t really trust someone who does not like coffee. SO imagine my dismay when as I look for a natural cure for my cripplingly painful and heavy periods that I discover that coffee can throw your hormones out of balance.
Here is why from Elevate Vitality
- Caffeine raises cortisol levels as soon as it enters the body.
- The production of cortisol stimulates more cortisol to be produced. Cortisol basically stops fat burning and can pack fat onto your midsection.
- Cortisol competes with progesterone to latch on to the same receptor sites and surprise surprise, cortisol will always win! Progesterone is the hormone responsible for holding onto pregnancies (think pro – gestation) and we need a nice ratio of progesterone to oestrogen to help reduce those symptoms of PMS, endometriosis and painful periods among other imbalances.
I drank a lot of coffee, it was not like quitting one or 2 cups a day. I would have a cup next to my bed when I wake up in the morning, courtesy of The Geek, I would have a cup with breakfast before taking Titus to play group, a cup when I get back and start home schooling the other 2, at least one more before fetching Titus, some with lunch, if I have time, one before the swim run in the afternoon, when I get back and am making supper, when Yme comes home, and then after the kids are in bed and we are working or watching TV we usually have 1-2. That makes on average 10 cups a day!!
That is a lot of something that could be affecting me negatively. I am not saying that coffee is bad, and there are many studies into the health benefits. But for me with painful periods and obvious hormone imbalance it became something I needed to stop.
I was expecting a withdrawal headache for a few days. Roll on 2 weeks of near blinding headaches in the afternoons. The day would start off okay and then the headache would build. I admit to coping using Panado in the afternoon. I am sure that adding drugs to try and eliminate chemicals is not the best way but I still had to function. I was also very tired in the afternoons and for a while I would allow myself one cup in the afternoon just to get through, but I was soon able to stop this too.
Did it help? Well it might be too early to say. I do not expect this to be the thing that cures me. I know I have a lot more work to do. But it did have a rather drastic effect the first month.
I started spotting (7 days) soon after stopping coffee, this was way too early for my normal cycle, I then started bleeding – but with no pain for 2 weeks, then the last week the pain started and it was so severe that I landed up in hospital unable to control the pain at home. Blood tests showed that my Hb (hemoglobin) levels were low due to all this too.
I carried on with the no coffee and this last cycle was better, shorted period ( 5 days versus usual 7) and the pain was controllable at home. Not perfect by any means. I was still bed bound for 2 day but I could cope and it happened to be over all the public holidays and long weekends so Yme helped a lot. Was it coffee withdrawal that made that one cycle so terrible? Did being off coffee make this last period better? I honestly don’t know, but I will continue and see where this takes me.
Do I miss coffee? – yes very much. I have had the odd cup since then but I try to limit it as much as I can.