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Why Should Women Avoid Tea During Menstruation

by Jessica Luccy

Many people find comfort in a cup of hot tea, and if you have British, South Asian or Irish ancestry, you know that tea is an integral part of your diet. When I was a kid, the first thing anyone who was sad or grumpy would get is an offer for “a nice cup of tea.” Tea’s safety was never in doubt.

As a matter of fact, a chat was incomplete without a cup of tea. It was inconceivable that you could refuse it on the basis that you are menstruating. That word was off-limits right off the bat because it was considered a taboo subject amongst females.

My first thought was that drinking tea during menstruation was probably terrible for me since I knew that it contained ginseng and other herbs that could be very beneficial in other ways but it didn’t sound like it had any positive effects on my period. When I found out how it actually affects your period, it was pretty shocking.

What Does the Data Say About This Recommendation?

Tea, like all other foods we consume, is a complex mixture of ingredients, the amounts of which vary greatly from one tea brand to the next. Regular black or green tea is what we’re referring to. First, we will discuss some active elements in tea, and how it can have a serious impact on a menstruating woman.

Tea Ingredients and Their Effects On Menstruation

Why Should Women Avoid Tea During Menstruation

Caffeine

Tea, like coffee and some sodas, can contain a significant amount of caffeine, much like these other beverages. If caffeine was the primary reason to avoid drinking tea during menstruation, we would see a lot more suggestions to stop drinking coffee, given the caffeine content in coffee is often greater.

A cup of coffee 95–200mg caffeine

A cup of tea 14–60mg caffeine

A can of cola 35–45mg caffeine

How Caffeine Affects Menstrual Cycle?

If you’re feeling lethargic, the stimulant effects may be welcome news. Many women experience fluid retention in the weeks leading up to their periods, thus the diuretic effect may be welcome.

Women who drink a lot of caffeine appear to have shorter menstrual periods, possibly due to a constricting impact on the uterine arteries, which may reduce blood flow.

Unexpectedly, the impact on estrogen levels appears to differ based on the racial background.

NIH study indicated that whereas white women and black women both experienced increases in estrogen after eating caffeine, Asian women experienced a far larger increase. The study was conducted in 2012, thus it would be helpful to get more recent data.

Some theophylline and theobromine may be produced as a byproduct of caffeine metabolism. I’ll be talking about each of these points in turn below.

-Caffeine seems to mostly have negative effects on mood and sleep, and it may also cause cramping and breast soreness due to its diuretic properties.

-Reducing caffeine consumption has been shown to alleviate breast pain in patients with fibrocystic breast disease.

-Anecdotal evidence suggests that coffee, rather than tea, is to blame for worsening symptoms of breast discomfort.

Could it be the caffeine, or is there another component in coffee that is to blame?

Let’s take a look at other ingredients of tea.

1. Tannins

It has been hypothesized that the antioxidants called tannins, shield the heart from damage, reduce inflammation, and protect the body against cancer.

How Tannins Affect Menstrual Cycle?

One possible drawback of tannins during menstruation is that they may inhibit iron absorption. Although iron supplements can help, they may only be necessary if you have very excessive bleeding and a low-iron diet.

Tip: You can reduce the amount of tannin in your tea by steeping the leaves for a shorter period of time.

You can switch to a lower-tannin type like green or white tea.

2. Theophylline

Tiny amounts of this chemical can be found in black tea. Since it is a medication for asthma, its effects have been thoroughly investigated. The amount in tea is too low to be helpful for an asthmatic sufferer, but you also won’t have to worry about any negative side effects. Theophylline can be found in tea at levels as low as 1 milligrams per cup, whereas typical tablet dosages range from 100 to 400 milligrammes.

How Theophylline Affects Menstrual Cycle?

Some research suggests that theophylline metabolism increases throughout the menstrual cycle, however this likely wouldn’t have much of an effect unless the drug was being used medically.

Heavy or protracted bleeding has been reported in some women using theophylline. Just like before, the amount in your cup of tea is so negligible that any potential danger is simply speculative.

3. Theobromine

What makes chocolate dangerous for dogs is a chemical called theobromine. Even in minute quantities, tea contains them. It has a slight stimulating effect.

How Theobromine Affects Menstrual Cycle?

It may raise your heart rate and enhance blood flow. Some studies have postulated that the effect that this has on the blood vessels could be helpful in reducing the severity of uterine cramps.

Anecdotal reports suggest that it aids in falling asleep and staying asleep.

4. L-Theanine

When compared to the other elements, it has the highest abundance. It increases the frequency of the relaxing alpha brain waves.

In comparison to the jitters and agitation that can be brought on by excessive amounts of caffeine, this method of waking up from sleepiness is much gentler and kindlier.

Now, we have talked about tea and coffee, as well as their ingredients that can affect the menstrual cycle in a negative way. Now, you must be thinking; “can we take green tea during periods?”

The good news is that, YES, you can take green tea even during periods.

How Is Green Tea Different?

Camellia sinensis is the plant that is used to make green and black tea. Leaves are rolled and then oxidized to produce black tea (fermented). While both beverages contain caffeine, green tea typically has more L-theanine and fewer caffeine levels.

There is evidence that drinking green tea can improve glucose metabolism.

Do Other Herbal Teas Measure Up?

Why Should Women Avoid Tea During Menstruation

There is a wide variety of teas available. The bulk of these products will not have undergone rigorous testing to determine whether or not they positively affect the menstrual cycle.

A lot of the proof we have is anecdotal.

1. Red Raspberry Leaf Brew

The uterine muscle is relaxed and toned thanks to the alkaloid fragarine found in the leaves, which also helps with menstruation cramps. More calcium and magnesium can be found in this tea than in regular tea.

2. Oolong Tea

This is processed differently than black or green tea, but it comes from the same Camelia plant. However, there is limited evidence to support the claim that this combines both approaches.

3. Rooibos Tea (Tea from the red bush)

This South African tea is made from a completely different plant than the one used to make regular tea. Caffeine-free and high in antioxidants. It contains very few tannins. It does not significantly stimulate the central nervous system and is not cardiotoxic.

Acne sufferers have reported seeing positive results from using it.

There were no menstrual cycle studies that I could discover that involved this tea.

4. Ginger Tea

In order to alleviate several symptoms, ginger has been used for centuries. The anti-inflammatory properties of ginger tea are touted as making it an effective remedy for period cramps.

Let’s Summarize this!

1. Those with fibrocystic breast disease may have an increase in breast pain due to the caffeine in tea, however the amount is much lower than in coffee. Evidently, coffee poses a higher danger.

2. However, limiting food intake is not the solution during menstruation.

3. Tea and coffee contain caffeine, which some people with severe premenstrual syndrome may not be able to tolerate.

4. Drinking tea containing theophylline may exacerbate anemia in women who are already at risk for it due to heavy bleeding and an iron-deficient diet.

Tip: A better diet or iron supplements can help.

5. Tea’s L-theanine, which helps boost mood and focus, could be just what a lady suffering from PMS needs.

The potential benefits and risks of this need to be considered. A cup of tea’s calming and warming effects are often worth the small health risk.

Conclusion

To understand the effects of drinking tea during menstruation, we must understand the effects of menstruation on the body. The most common reason people drink tea during their period is to reduce the amount of spotting and cramps and amount of blood loss.

Tea has a long history of being used for medicinal purposes, and has been used for thousands of years as a treatment for menstrual and menopausal symptoms, as well as for anxiety. When used for anxiety, it can be particularly helpful to relax the body and combat stress.

 

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