If You Notice This in Your Voice, You Could Be Drinking Too Much Coffee

A doctor is warning that this could be a sign you need to cut back on your caffeine intake.

There are tons of benefits of coffee, from reducing your risk of Alzheimer's and Parkinson's to alleviating your headaches and keeping your liver healthy. But like most good things, it is possible to overdo it. Of course, you don't have to wait to get the point of shaky hands or a stomachache to know you're consuming too much caffeine. The truth may lie in how you sound when you talk. Read on to learn the subtle indicator in your voice about your coffee intake, and for more health tips regarding your cup of joe, check out If You Drink This Much Coffee a Day, Your Heart's in Danger, Study Finds.

If you hear or feel the signs of voice strain, it could mean you're drinking too much coffee.

man touching his neck in pain, sitting on couch, glass of water
George Rudy / Shutterstock

Paul Bryson, MD, of the Cleveland Clinic Voice Center, says drinking too much caffeine can lead to vocal strain. "You have to be careful with some things if they have caffeine. A lot of caffeine can be a dehydrator, which can then potentially dry up the secretions on the voice box that are naturally there for lubrication and to help vibration," Bryson told WCNC, a Charlotte, North Carolina NBC affiliate.

Early symptoms of voice strain to look out for could be a sore throat, discomfort speaking, lower pitch, loss of vocal range, a tickling feeling in your throat, the urge to cough or clear your throat, and a harsh or raspy voice, according to Worksmart.

Bryson says if your voice problems persist for two to four weeks, see a doctor.

And for more health symptoms to be aware of, check out If This Happens When You Eat or Drink, You Need Your Thyroid Checked.

Other common drinks can also strain your voice.

friends clinking by glasses with various alcoholic cocktails at table,close up top view

Like caffeine, alcohol can dry out your throat. "When combined with a night of talking or yelling over loud music, this dryness can cause uncomfortable inflammation in your throat and vocal cords," note the experts at Healthline.

Another drink that your voice won't benefit from is milk, which acts as an irritant to your throat and can cause phlegm to become thicker, according to Medical News Today.

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You shouldn't consume more than 400 milligrams of caffeine per day.

Cropped shot of a woman ordering a drink at a coffee shop

The U.S. Food & Drug Administration (FDA) says 400 milligrams of caffeine per day is the maximum you should be taking in. That equals about four or five cups of coffee and about 10 cans of soda or servings of iced tea.

The FDA notes that toxic effects of caffeine, like seizures, come from rapidly consuming 1,200 milligrams of the substance. But before you reach that point, other signs of over-consumption of caffeine include sleep problems, anxiousness, fast heart rate, upset stomach, headache, and a twitch in your eye.

And if you're looking for alternative ways to get a jolt, here are 25 Ways to Boost Your Energy Level Without Coffee.

If you can't limit your caffeine intake, try and drink more water.

woman drinking water

Cristen Paige, a speech language pathologist, told Duke Today she recommends everyone drink 64 ounces, a half-gallon, of water daily. Water assists the body in mucus production, which maintains vocal cord lubrication, Paige notes.

She also advises anyone who choses to consume caffeine or alcohol to have an equal amount of water afterwards. For example, if you consume six ounces of coffee, you should then drink six ounces of water. "Taking frequent sips is going to keep your voice healthy," Paige said. And for more caffeinated products to steer clear of, check out The 10 Most Dangerous Sources of Caffeine You Should Avoid.

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