In my Nutrition section, I begin with my endometriosis meal plan, which is a great way to get started with the understanding of what to eat and what to avoid if you have endometriosis. We should understand that caffeine and endometriosis can’t stand together. Especially if you have bowel symptoms.
Before I started my diet to be more Endo-friendly, I was drinking 3-5 cups of coffee per day. Don’t judge me, I am a true coffee lover. And I am married to an Italian…so I really appreciate a strong cup of espresso. I’ve never thought before that one day I will have to say “goodbye my love, goodbye my coffee friend”. But I did it. Now I drink only decaf coffee and I don’t feel any difference.
And again..I LOVE COFFEE…I love the taste, I love the smell, I love holding a coffee cup, I love sitting in coffee shops….
So giving up coffee for me isn’t just about giving up a drink, it’s giving up interest and some small but very real pleasures in life.
Caffeine and endometriosis?
Caffeine is really bad for Endometriosis. But why?
Caffeine is found in coffee beans, tea leaves, and cacao beans.
Coffee. Tea. Chocolate.
All of the deliciousness!
Caffeine and Endometriosis
I’m hoping writing this will help not only other endosisters on their journey, but motivate me on my own path to health.
Studies have shown that coffee may have health benefits, including protecting against Parkinson’s disease, type 2 diabetes and liver disease, including liver cancer. It also appears to improve cognitive function and decrease the risk of depression. Other studies have shown that caffeine affects the possibility of developing Endometriosis:
-caffeine intake increases estrogen levels, which may increase the chance of developing Endometriosis or worsening the symptoms.
-studies show that women who drink coffee have up to 70% higher estrogen levels than women who do not and the American Journal of Epidemiology found that caffeine may increase the production of estrogen in a 1996 study.
-caffeine also inhibits the liver’s ability to reduce our estrogen levels. It prevents our liver from doing its job. So the estrogen levels, which are already increased by the caffeine intake, are unable to be reduced by our body’s natural functions.
-caffeine has been shown to aggravate and increase inflammation. My body proves this over and over again. Usually, I drink my coffee in the morning, after breakfast. But sometimes I drink a second coffee after lunch and that’s when my problems start – I don’t feel any pain, but I feel uncomfortable my intestine and my endo belly is here. Caffeine can affect the digestive system, causing cramping, pain, and diarrhea. Many women already have digestion problems with endometriosis, so reducing coffee can help reduce aggravation to the intestines and bowel.
-It appears I’m not the only one who has this experience; women with endometriosis who were asked to remove caffeine from their diet had a significant reduction in symptoms and pain in a 1998 study.
-Another study, conducted in 1993, found that women who drank two or more cups of caffeinated coffee per day, or four cans of soda, were twice as likely to develop Endometriosis.
-Coffee can increase anxiety. I know so many people that can drink coffee and feel great. But when you have Endo, it can exasperate your feelings of anxiety or stress. Both these can affect the body’s ability to heal and trigger flare ups.
-We have to believe that coffee is not helping us in our battle with fatigue.
The Endometriosis Diet and Quitting Coffee
Quitting coffee is one of the main suggestions of the endometriosis diet. Three years after I started the endo diet I am still fighting with that. Now I learn about other alternatives that can replace the coffee. I know that when caffeine withdrawal is very real and has some difficult side effects, such as migraines and low energy, which we don’t really need more of with endometriosis.
-you can start slowly, reducing coffee consumption one cup at a time and perhaps replacing it with decaf. Your body needs time, work out what’s comfortable to you.
-replace your morning coffee with green tea. Yes, it contains caffeine but not the same high levels. I started drinking green tea in the morning (before breakfast) about five months ago, and I feel really good.
Keep going with your endo diet and try to drink no more than one coffee per day.
I’ll do another post soon on my favorite coffee replacements – I’d love to hear from you and what your alternatives you’ve tried and like!