Well, as most people know coffee contains a fair amount of the dreaded caffeine. Caffeine is an addictive “psychoactive drug”, albeit a pretty low risk and accepted one.
A high percentage of the people in the world consume caffeine in some form or another – around 90% depending on where you look and who’s reporting on this. According to the U.S. Food and Drug Administration around 80% of Americans consume caffeine daily and in Finland, the world’s most caffeinated country, the average adult consumes 400mg of caffeine every day – equivalent to four or five cups of coffee a day, and equal to the maximum daily limit recommended by the UK Food Standards Agency. This high caffeine consumption appears to be down to the suggested positive effects caffeine can produce, such as an increase in energy and alertness. Whether this is true or whether in actual fact you are just ‘topping yourself up’ to a normality after a caffeine crash is debatable. However, caffeine may cause unpleasant reactions as well. One unpleasant side effect of caffeine is sweating.
Sweating after drinking coffee or consuming caffeine in its many food and drink forms is not actually that common an after effect, however I don’t think there’s any doubt it does occur in some individuals. Caffeine has a side effect of causing anxiousness or at least symptoms associated with that. Being nervous, overactive or anxious can absolutely cause sweating, as many people will know. Sweating from caffeine use is more likely when someone consumes a large amount of caffeine. I’ve been there myself after 3 cups of Costa Coffee to try and keep myself going, the mouth goes dry, I start babbling rubbish and can feel anxious and start to get a little sweaty! I would say that in general sweating after drinking coffee is much of a cause for concern and should disappear on its own when your body has dealt with the caffeine in the normal manner. However, if you are concerned about your sweating, call your doctor and discuss it with them. Your doctor is your first port of call for anything that you’re unsure about health wise. I often consult “Doctor Google” and find I have 3 hours to live – fortunately this has never been the truth, so far at least!
It would seem that if you find yourself sweating after drinking coffee or consuming even lower doses of caffeine that you should work your way to cutting out caffeine from your diet completely. It may take you a few days to go cold turkey, and you may even suffer from headaches as you go through withdrawal, but many people report feeling so much better in themselves for doing this because their body is not reliant on something to keep them at a normal level of alertness. There are a plethora of decaffeinated coffees and decaffeinated tea out there to help you with this. If you think caffeine is restricted to coffee, tea and energy drinks, think again. The stuff appears to get everywhere, so check your food and drink labels. Take a look for a variety of decaffeinated coffee: USA here or UK here.
Sweating also may be a response to strong emotions, such as nervousness, anger, embarrassment or fear. Hormonal changes, illness, low blood sugar, an overactive thyroid, spicy foods, warm temperatures, cancer, alcohol and certain medications may also trigger sweating. Eliminating caffeine completely can help you determine if the sweating is due to caffeine or because of one of these other conditions.
In addition to sweating, caffeine may make it difficult for you to fall asleep, increase your heart rate, raise your blood pressure, cause headaches or dizziness, and make you anxious, jittery or irritable. I’ve often felt a bit like Hammy, the squirrel from the animated film ‘Over The Hedge’ – see the effects here! Excessive amounts of caffeine may also cause gastrointestinal upset, dehydration or muscle tremors. You may feel these effects within 30 to 60 minutes after consuming caffeine, and these effects may last anywhere from eight to 14 hours, according to the American Academy of Sleep Medicine.