Blog

15
Oct 2021

Break-up with Caffeine!

  • By: Priyanka Shinde

When I was diagnosed with Endometriosis in early 2020, doctors asked me to experiment with my diet.

One of the first steps were going dairy free and caffeine free. My instant reaction - "I can't stop drinking the coffee! I stop drinking coffee, I stop doing the standing, and the walking, and the words-putting-into-sentences doing." Literally my case 2 years back! Everything was about coffee. My morning – start of office – post lunch – evening break – after work; My friends argued about me having caffeine in my veins more than blood. The aroma of coffee itself was intoxicating for me.

Being thrown into the uncharted territory of learning to live with endometriosis, there are studies and internet articles I found that claim to prove + disprove all sorts of lifestyle changes for women with endometriosis. There is certain rule book that pops up with restricted food items list, every time you google lifestyle habits for endometriosis:

  • Gluten free
  • Dairy free
  • Caffeine free
  • Restricted alcohol consumption
  • Monitored Sugar intake
  • Monitored red meat intake

After my excision surgery few months back, my diet charts went frenzy. I was determined I wouldn’t break my diet and follow the rules. Gosh, was it tough! Following a diet with what to eat list is different. But following a diet with a long list of what not to eat items...... felt I had hardly anything left to eat. And being a foody, it was a challenge.

This went for weeks and I still had bloated belly and cramps every day. The changes I made in my diet didn’t really seem to have any effect. Infact, I lost weight drastically and became weak. That’s when I consulted my dietician again. This time she asked me to experiment and decide everything on trial-and-error basis.

I had to take a few steps back. I decided to go week by week trial. First on the list – Coffee! I did not consume coffee for straight two weeks. I had minor bloating, few ups and downs. Could be due to many other reasons. I began monitoring everything I ate and maintained its log. Then after two weeks, I had coffee exactly the way I like it – Less sweet and strong. To my surprise, I had inflammation and pain within 2 hours of coffee consumption. I did this yet again for next full week just to see if the symptoms continue. I tried black coffee, coffee with less milk, less sugar, everything. End of the week, I knew for sure – Coffee is one of my triggers.

In simplest terms, caffeine, like anything diet-related, is not guaranteed to be an issue for everyone, not even everyone with endometriosis. However, there is information that points to it as something that might be worth investigating if you’re struggling to get your symptoms under control. This is a completely personal observation. Among my other observations, gluten and alcohol are not my triggers.

Studies have shown that Caffeine causes -

  • Inflammation
  • Increase in estrogen levels (terrible case in Endo)
  • Irritable Bowel Syndrome – might worsen cramps and diarrhea
  • Trigger Anxiety
  • Adverse effect on Ovaries and fertility

But then again, there are studies that show absolutely no connection between coffee and endometriosis.

With all things endometriosis, it’s about finding what feels right for you. If you do feel that you could benefit from reducing your caffeine intake, my personal recommendation would be to start slowly, as caffeine withdrawal is a real thing and can cause painful headaches and reduced energy.

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