If You Drink 3 Cups of Coffee a Day, You're at Risk for This Painful Condition

Research has connected caffeine consumption with this health issue.

Three cups of coffee in one day may sound like just a normal Wednesday for some people—and if you're one of them, you probably feel like you tolerate that amount just fine. But consuming so much coffee can have its drawbacks, including some serious side effects. One study found that drinking three cups of coffee a day could actually put you at risk for a painful condition. Read on to find out if you should cut back on your coffee consumption, and for more reasons to switch to tea, If You Drink This Much Coffee a Day, Your Heart's in Danger, Study Finds.

Three cups of coffee in one day is likely to cause a migraine in people prone to migraines.

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You may want to start regulating your daily coffee intake, especially if you're prone to migraines. A 2019 study published in the American Journal of Medicine found that drinking three or more servings of caffeinated beverages a day is likely to trigger migraines. The researchers observed 98 adults with episodic migraines (0 to 14 headache days per month) over the course of six weeks as they reported their caffeinated beverage intake each day. According to the study, there was "no association" between just one to two servings of caffeinated beverages (or one to two 8-ounce cups of coffee), but there were higher odds once someone drank three or more servings.

"We were simultaneously looking at exposures like sleep habits, weather, physical activity. We collected a lot of information from these individuals, and in this particular study looking at caffeinated beverages and the immediate risk of migraine, what we were able to do by collecting these other lifestyle factors is to say, even accounting for all other factors, we're still seeing this higher odds of migraine headache with three or more servings of caffeine," lead investigator Elizabeth Mostofsky, ScD, an instructor in the department of epidemiology at Harvard, told Healthline. And for more health concerns, If This Happens When You Eat or Drink, You Need Your Thyroid Checked.

Caffeine can both hurt and help your migraines.

Shot of a senior man drinking coffee and looking thoughtfully out of a window

According to WebMD, caffeine can actually cause and cure your migraines. In fact, caffeine is an ingredient in many popular pain relievers, making them as much as 40 percent more effective. Caffeine can constrict blood vessels in the brain, which can stop a migraine. At the same time, your body can become so dependent on caffeine and its effects—especially if you're drinking three cups of coffee a day—that you experience withdrawal symptoms, WebMD warns. One of the symptoms of caffeine withdrawal: a migraine. "Due to the rapid development of caffeine tolerance, any interruption in regular consumption may lead to a caffeine withdrawal headache," the study states. And for useful information delivered straight to your inbox, sign up for our daily newsletter.

Women are much more likely to suffer from migraines.

woman feel stressed, headache sitting alone on sofa at home

According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), migraines are very common in the U.S., with more than 15 percent of Americans 18 years or older having reported a migraine in the previous three months. However, it is much more common for women to have migraines. Out of the 98 participants in the study with episodic migraines, 86 were women but only 12 were men. The CDC reported that in 2018, women were almost twice as likely as men to experience a migraine within three months. And for things you should be ingesting, Eating This One Thing Can Cut Your Cancer Risk in Half, New Study Says.

There are plenty of benefits to drinking coffee, however.

couple sitting side by side on their porch or balcony, drinking coffee. They are looking at something in the distance, squinting to try to figure out what it is.

Migraine risks aside, there are plenty of benefits to coffee. According to John Hopkins, the right amount of coffee may make you less likely to die from heart disease, less likely to get type 2 diabetes, and less likely to develop Alzheimer's or Parkinson's disease. With that in mind, you may not want to give up your daily coffee altogether. In fact, Mostofsky told Healthline that it's not actually about completely cutting off coffee consumption, but instead about the "dose and the frequency of that exposure to the caffeine."

If you are planning to cut back because of your migraines, WebMD says it's important to do so gradually. "For example, if you normally have two cups of coffee in the morning, start by cutting back to one. If you quit suddenly, it can take up to a week to get past the withdrawal symptoms," WebMD says. And for signs of health problems you need to know, If Your Breath Smells Like This, Get Your Liver Checked, Experts Say.

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