Is it true that coffee can cause PCOS? Let’s find out

There are several causes of PCOS and several people believe that coffee is also one of its causes. But is it true? Let's find out.
The exact cause of PCOS is unknown. Image courtesy: Adobe Stock
Garima Goyal Published: 29 Dec 2022, 11:30 am IST
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A straight “no” to coffee could be a deal breaker for someone trying to get on a healthy diet. Coffee has become a common beverage worldwide. But like any other food item, the effects of coffee also fall under both good and bad. One of its side effects that people believe is that coffee can lead to PCOS (Polycystic Ovary Syndrome). But is that true? Read on to find out!

Is there a link between coffee and PCOS?

When it comes to coffee consumption and PCOS, a mixed conclusion arises due to the scarcity of research studies. Despite varying opinions on its effects, it is clear that only coffee consumption cannot predispose one to PCOS. This is a lifestyle disorder, fuelled by various factors like stress, physical activity, diet, etc. Coffee consumption based on the level of intake could be associated with the risk of PCOS.

Several bioactive compounds are present in coffee. These include isoflavones, which give them anti-oxidant, anti-cancerous, and anti-inflammatory properties. One among them is caffeine owing to benefits like mood elevation, alertness, increased metabolism, etc. But caffeine is not safe especially if consumed in excessive quantity.

Impact of caffeine on PCOS patients

The effect of caffeine on certain neurotransmitters and the irregularities in hormonal control in PCOS raises concern regarding their consumption.

Be cautious while consuming caffeine. Image courtesy: Shutterstock

In women, menstrual cycles are controlled through various reproductive hormones and the metabolic effect of caffeine, when consumed excessively could have a negative impact on this cycle. In PCOS, along with the existing irregularities, this would further deteriorate the balance.

Also read: Spice up your coffee cup! Add these 5 spices for more flavour and benefits

In PCOS, increased levels of androgen can lead to facial hair, mood swings, and menstrual abnormalities. In the body, androgen is converted to estrogen, a female reproductive hormone with the help of the enzyme aromatase. Some studies have shown that increased levels of caffeine can inhibit this enzyme.

How much coffee is too much for people with PCOS?

This impact of caffeine raises concerns about coffee consumption despite its benefits. One way to manage the effects of caffeine and stay on the beneficial side is to regulate the amount you consume. Many pieces of evidence have shown that consumption of caffeine up to 200mg per day which is 2 to 3 cups of coffee can be considered safe.

Yet, considering the metabolic derangements in PCOS, your best bet would be to restrict to two cups per day. A further restriction is advised for pregnant women to avoid the consequences of caffeine.

Caffeine can increase the risk of PCOS. Image courtesy: Shutterstock

Alternatives for coffee

If you drink coffee more often, then only the fear of the effect of caffeine on PCOS may not be helpful. Finding healthy alternatives to the extra cups of coffee will prove to be beneficial. To replace coffee, you can include other beverages like buttermilk, tender coconut water, or even some soups. Bring down your intake gradually.

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Also, read: 7 expert-recommended tips to manage PCOS at home


To better manage your PCOS and avoid any infertility risks, controlling the intake of caffeine is an important lifestyle choice to be made. When consumed in moderation coffee is not actually a threat. Also, make sure to have a gap of at least an hour between your coffee and meals to ensure better bioavailability of essential nutrients.


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About the Author

Garima Goyal is a registered dietician from Ludhiana and has an experience of over 8 years. She is also a certified diabetes educator and can handle complications related to diabetes such as hypoglyecima and kidney diseases. She also provides plans for hospital patients, weight management, blood pressure, cholesterol, typhoid, child nutrition and sports nutrition. She is a keto dietician as well and specialises in IBS and IBD diets. ...Read More

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