Does Coffee Help with Cramps?

Many women drink coffee, and when that time of the month rolls around they are asking themselves does coffee help with cramps in 2018? The simple answer is no. There are reasons why it is not helping with cramps and in fact, coffee may actually be making your cramps worse than they would have been without the coffee. However, there are many studies that are going on to finally reveal the truth.

What is a Period/Menstrual Cycle?

When a woman is on her period or menstrual cycle, it is a sign to show that the uterus is shedding the lining. This is something that will occur monthly in women who are in an age where reproduction is possible. When a woman is on her menstrual cycle, they may notice some cramps. These cramps are contractions that help the process move along. Prostaglandins (a hormone) is what trigger these contractions and the resulting cramps that come with them.

For some women these cramps are worse than normal and that could be caused by cysts or even endometriosis which is an inflammation of the uterine lining. Many of these symptoms such as cramps can be relieved by simple pain relievers. This helps manage the pain but there are other influences that could help you as well with simple lifestyle changes.

Caffeine and Cramping

Many of us drink coffee daily. However, there has been some studies lately that suspect caffeine as a contributor to menstrual cramping and pain. This is because caffeine acts as a vasoconstrictor. A vasoconstrictor mildly constricts blood flow which can eventually lead to pain. This is a temporary effect and is not usually common in those who drink caffeine daily.

In addition, sometimes caffeine can act as a vasodilator which means it actually improves blood flow. Many doctors recommend avoiding caffeine while on your menstrual cycle due to the discomfort it causes. However, little research supports this theory. A study in 2007 had linked caffeine to premenstrual anxiety and mood changes but never to the cramping. Likewise, some over-the-counter medications that treat menstrual pain actually contain caffeine to enhance the effects of the primary ingredient.

Caffeine and Other Menstrual Symptoms

There are a few things that many of us consume daily that contain caffeine. This would include:

  • Coffee
  • Tea
  • Chocolate
  • Energy drinks
  • Soda

Caffeine for the long time has been linked with worsening symptoms of menstruation. Caffeine has been thought to worsen premenstrual symptoms which include:

  • Anxiety
  • Insomnia
  • Irritability

However, in a study in 2016, 3600 women participated. This was to diagnose the link between caffeine and coffee intake and there was no link between the dietary components and symptoms including:

This was in those even drinking four or more cups of coffee daily.

Precautions

While it is unsure that caffeine may contribute to those nasty menstrual cramps, some people are sensitive to caffeine in general. Even if you are not sensitive to caffeine you may consume more than your body can handle and experience some of these symptoms:

  • Sleep Disruptions
  • Headaches
  • Anxiety
  • Palpitations (Strong or rapid heartbeats)