When I moved to Seattle, my hormones were seriously fucked up. Like seriously. I was constantly up and down with my energy. I’d be falling asleep at 2 p.m. on my desk and wide awake out of nowhere at 3 a.m. every night. I’d have these intense sleeping spells that would come on at all times, even while driving. It was rough. And super scary. I was in a business at the time that sold energy drinks, so I was in the habit of drinking 2-3 energy drinks a day that I thought were “safe.”
A few months before I moved back to the East Coast, I had the chance to see an amazing naturopath in Seattle that helped me get my estrogen levels back on track, and my life literally transformed. My energy came back, I felt so much clarity, and I no longer woke up on the weekends at 6 a.m. from a caffeine headache. I was no longer a slave to the energy drinks. I ended up going cold-turkey off of caffeine completely, and it’s been the best decision I’ve ever made and has made positive impacts on my cycle and contributed to relieving my PCOS symptoms almost completely.
Over half of all Americans over the age of 18 drink coffee every day. That’s crazy right? It honestly sounds a little low to me. I mean, think about it, what percentage of people in your office or at work grab a cup from the coffee pot every morning? I’d say for me, it’s at least 80 percent. What we fail to be educated on is the effect of caffeine, especially on our hormones as women.
1. Caffeine Can Increase Your Risk Of Benign Breast Disease And Cause Cysts In The Ovaries And Breasts
I mean, WTF?! A few years ago, my doctor found a few masses in both of my breasts that turned out to be fibroadenomas, which are essentially benign (non-cancerous) lumps that are influenced by hormones. I never made the connection until now how my diet affected this. My boobs were literally leaking because the benign tumors were pressing on ducts. It was definitely bizarre, to say the least, and I wish I had known that I could’ve done things to prevent that. Thankfully, they’re all gone now!
If you have PCOS, issues with your period, cysts in the breasts or ovaries, endometriosis, low energy (ironic, I know), you may want to rethink your coffee consumption.
Alissa Vitti, a women’s hormone and functional nutrition expert, explains the vicious cycle:
Many of us don’t actually enjoy the taste of coffee. If you’re adding cream and sugar to make your daily brew palatable, these additions send your blood sugar soaring.
Caffeine itself causes your body to produce extra cortisol.
Your system can only reset with a good night’s sleep, but you’re unlikely to get sufficient rest thanks to the caffeine coursing through your body. When you’re lacking quality sleep, you suppress healthy hormone production. Then when you wake up groggy the next morning, your first instinct is to grab more coffee, setting off another day of endocrine disruption and dysfunction.
Isn’t that terrible?!
When I was around 22 years old, I suddenly started gaining a ton of weight around my midsection and I just attributed it to age. I mean, I was getting old, right? (Haha, so naïve.) But the common denominator was that I began working full-time, and was relying on coffee for my morning fix. I was a big aficionado of Dunkin’ Donuts and I thought it was SO nice that they put (heaping amounts of) cream and sugar for you in your cup! Aside from all the cream and sugar, caffeine affects your cortisol (stress levels) and your blood sugar balance, which in turn affects your weight and waistline balance.
Next time, rethink that second cup a day. Enjoy your one cup for now if you really love it that much. Don’t deprive yourself of things you love! Personally, I drink a cold glass of water with breakfast as soon as I’m up, and it has a much more pure awakening effect. I mean, you’ve gone the last 8 hours or so without water by the time you wake up, the least you could do is not make it worse by downing the caffeine right away.