Facts Over Myths: Can I drink Alcohol while having a Period?
Nobody is stopping you!
You are an adult and can make your choice depending on how you see life. Sometimes, your whims & wishes, and desires from all around tend to direct your decision, and that is nothing wrong!
During periods, your mood is likely to change, and so are your thoughts and body! The mood fluctuation & sudden overloaded thoughts may make you feel like pick-up-hibernating with Netflix Binge alongside a glass of wine!
But wine and alcohol are not the same!
So, when you pick up the latter instead of the former, you ought to think about whether or not you actually can drink alcohol during periods, as per medical science! You ought to face some setbacks if not previously aware! You ought to suffer a bit and then learn something new! Perhaps, it is always better to start unlearning a few ideas & practices the moment you get to know there is something wrong with it!
You can drink, but when the choice is alcohol over wine, you take the risk of some health issues!
Did fear drop in?
You should, at some point, get over the myth that alcohol soothes mood during the menstrual cycle and reduces cramps. No, that is not true!
That is plain & simple escapism that you choose to get away from momentary pain. In turn, leaving permanent physiological or anatomical vulnerabilities!
On top of that, it always stands our responsibility to get our facts right! Wine is the solution, sometimes, not always! But not alcohol!
It is simply because alcohol consumption while having a period can bring forth certain illnesses. Do you want to know what they are?
Then you have come to the right place!
Hi, I am your healthcare guide for the day, here, with an article on –
Can I drink alcohol while having a period?
The answer to this question is only with you, but all I want to do is to provide you with some facts that may be beneficial to check through before up-taking your decision. So, how about taking a tour of these Alcohol & Period Norms with me?
You cannot get rid of the demerits of alcohol consumption while having your periods: Fact!
When alcohol consumption is one of the most harmful impacts of social practices on human health, why would you expect it to act otherwise while you are on your period?
Yes, alcohol can bring setbacks to your menstrual health! It has the potential to affect your period & the other phase of your menstrual cycle, to be precise!
Are you thinking about how?
Alcohol can cause you an irregular period
That is right! Consuming too much alcohol, be it during your periods or afterward, can lead to irregularity in your menstrual cycle, as a whole. It is because alcohol has the capacity to temporarily enhance the level of estrogen & progesterone production in your body!
Estrogen & progesterone are the two essential hormones that regulate your ovulation process. They, on witnessing a condition of imbalances, can cause period irregularity, and sometimes even can lead to a missed period!
Alcohol can also boost the luteinizing hormone that plays the main role in stimulating the follicles!
In fact, excessive alcohol can delay your period for 3 months or more! And, such an issue is boldly listed by the National Institute of Alcohol Abuse & Alcoholism!
Alcohol can increase your period cramps
Yes, it does! When you booze heavily and quote often, irrespective of whether or not you are on your periods, your period cramps increases & intensify.
These cramps are very natural and common to us all, who bleed every month. It comes as a complimentary to periods! They occur when our uterus contracts to balance the lining. An overall unpleasant experience, indeed!
As we all know, alcohol is known to make you dehydrated, and when that happens within a period, you are likely to face immense period cramps. Sometimes, even prolonged ones!
This is because dehydration further leads to the thickening of the menstrual fluids and blood, subsequently forming clots. These clots are very difficult to pass, and when they come in flow, they bring along pain!
Alcohol can starve you with midnight cravings
Does the pleasure center of your brain never go back with blank hands? Are your midnight cravings too strong, further enabling you to grab lots & lots of snacks & drinks at 2 in the morning?
Envision yourself in a situation where you have extreme & uncontrollable cravings at midnight, but your fridge is empty, and so is your pocket! Will you be able to cope with that situation?
I suppose not!
Now that you are on your menstrual cycle, you know that your period hunger is real. It happens due to the fluctuation of magnesium levels in your body. When the magnesium level drops during your periods, so does your blood sugar level, leading to cravings for certain food. Now, imagine yourself again in the same situation while you are on your period! A serious concern, isn’t it?
Well, alcohol can multiply your concern by further multiplying the cravings through dehydration!
I suppose you do not want to face such a situation!
Alcohol can make you feel extremely tired –
Just like the above, alcohol can also intensify your other Premenstrual Syndrome, or PMS symptoms, namely, fatigue & dizziness.
Fatigue is the state of being extremely tired and usually lay accompanied by persistent dizziness. So, if you are already having this lethargic feeling, drinking alcohol can only surplus it.
It is because alcohol creates a sugar rush inside you as it already incorporates a high amount of sugar substances.
I think we all more or less know that alcohol is a depressant that flattens the nervous system. Hence, consuming it during your period can make you stick to the bed for a long. You shall feel like lacking the energy to even go to the washroom!
Alcohol can stimulate your mood swings further
Mood Swings are normal at times periods. But, not so normal if you consume alcohol at that time. Alcohol can somewhat act as a bonus to both the highs & lows that, when drinking, may take you to the great bath of happiness & to the terrifying dungeons of sadness & anxiety equally!
By altering the level of sex steroid hormones in your body, alcohol can take you to serious mood swings during the period. Not just the level of sex steroid hormones, alcohol can also create an imbalance in the creation of gonadotropin, i.e., the follicle-stimulating & luteinizing hormones!
Similarly, alcohol can interfere with the production of mood chemicals in your brain, like serotonin.
Now, do you realize how drinking while having a period can impact your mood?
Alcohol can cause Early Menopause
It is true! Excessive alcohol consumption can alone initiate the onset of menopause. So, if you are a heavy drinker, your menopause is likely to come about 5 years before its normal timing.
Such a scenario occurs when the estrogen level in your body drops by 75 to 90 percent. That is when you start experiencing symptoms of menopause, like tiredness, sleeping difficulties, hot flashes, and so forth!
What alcohol does is – exacerbate these symptoms by dilating the blood vessels, causing extreme dehydration, damage to the ovulation process, etc. Women during the time of menopause stay depressed heavily, and alcohol can make it worse, typically when you drink daily and in excess amounts!
Alcohol can deteriorate your Fertility Rate
Although the pertinent implications of alcohol consumption on your fertility rate are unknown to medical science, and research is in the process of finding out what’s underneath, doctors shall recommend you abstain from alcohol if you wish to conceive soon.
According to Anthony Rutherford, a Member of the British Fertility Society & Consultant in Reproductive Medicine, even minimal alcohol consumption can deteriorate the scope of conception.
This is about 1 to 5 drinks per week!
While that goes high, to around 10 drinks per week, the chance of your fertility being affected is drastically more! It happens because drinking has become a pervasive part of our life as we enter the age of modernity.
Studies say that nearly 24 percent of couples in developed & developing countries require more than 12 months to conceive.
It is needless to think that alcohol can work great as a contraception option. Please, No!
You absolutely cannot drink during periods: Myth!
However, when they say you cannot absolutely drink during periods, they do not reveal the fact. Of course, they want you to stay safe & devoid of all health complications, but that is a myth to keep you away from alcohol during your period!
If you take into consideration the words of many famous doctors and medical professionals or some medical research & surveys on women’s menstrual & reproductive health, you can understand how such a notion is only a myth and not based on facts! Let me share with you some!
- A Study undertaken by the Danish National Birth Cohort (DNBC) reveals that women who drink moderately have a shorter waiting time of pregnancy than abstainers. They are mostly the ones drinking wine and not some other alcohol!
- A Survey conducted by the US navy over 2912 women showed no connection between alcohol intake and menstrual symptoms. It also brought before us that the association of alcohol consumption & female fecundity that lay often discussed among us has no grounds to be considered an established fact.
- Following a publication in BMJ Open Journal that complies with 19 studies on alcohol intake & periods altogether, the Times of India States before us that alcohol intake during periods may only moderately increase your PMS symptoms and not aggressively.
- Nicolae Telfer, a Research Advisor on Applied Development Psychology, once in her blog, said, “Having a few drinks over the holidays (or in moderation any other time) probably won’t affect your cycle.” She further talks about the conflicting research on this particular grounds and mentions that chronic & high dosage of alcohol intake can cause cycle irregularities but not in the case of moderate drinking.
- AP Christensen, the Assistant Professor of Psychology & Human Development at the University of Pennsylvania, carried out research to see what connection lay between Alcohol use & a woman’s menstrual cycle. The research on 43 self-reported cases gave the inference that there was no chance of alcohol consumption during the menstrual cycle.
- Recently, a popular & verified online portal named New Directions for Women discussed how alcohol affects your period. They did talk about all that lay mentioned above and simultaneously highlighted that effect depends entirely on how much you drink and how often! They continuously warned us all to detect the fine line between casual binging & drinking!
- The Director, Obstetrician & Gynaecologist at Fortis Ft. Hospital, Delhi, Dr. Sutopa Banerjee, told that drinking a glass of beer or wine can make one feel relaxed during a period but only if conditions are complied with & applied. She adds that one should be happy about it but should not forget the 1 to 2 glasses benchmark out of this happiness and exceeding it can affect blood pressure, heart, & reproductive health.
- Dr. Annie Britton, a Graduate Tutor at the Department of Epistemology & Public Health, talked about the effects on fertility. She said, “total abstinence may not be necessary to maximize the conception rates…if alcohol is consumed moderately it seems that this may not affect fertility.”
- Health line brought before us a 2005 Study that had a follow-up in 2007. This medical study concludes that alcohol helps bring relief from hot flashes during your pre-menopausal & menopausal phases. The same goes for a study in 2015, where the alcohol intake limit to aid stands taken as one glass per day!
- Medical research, time and again, showed that one drink is better for health than completely abstaining. Such an emphasis got grounded in a 2017 Literature Review! Doctors found hops & nutrients in beer and recommended it as significant in reducing insomnia and hot flashes, the pre-menopausal & menopausal symptom in women in their 40s.
- In fact, two studies from the United Kingdom and South Korea respectively determined that moderate alcohol consumption for menopausal women can help decrease the risk of heart disease and boost bone density. However, the moderate when turning excessive can cause cancer, liver disease, osteoporosis, etc.
Perhaps, it is expected of us to say we cannot have alcohol during the period because when we ourselves start doing it, we transgress the limit! You forget that amount and time matter a lot concerning the impact of alcohol. We forget that all drinks do not contain an equal amount of alcohol percent! And that the more the alcohol percentage, the greater can be the impact!
That’s why a myth turns into fact, and we tend to obsolete the fact! But, neither of them is necessary if we can understand our limits all the time. According to the US Diary Guidelines for Americans (2015-2020), one drink per day is the standard and falls under moderate alcohol consumption!
You can drink any week of your menstrual cycle: Myth!
No, that’s not true! All weeks of the menstrual cycle are not the same, and therefore cannot tolerate toxins like alcohol in the same way!
Now, you must be wondering what the various stages of the menstrual cycle are and how they are actually separately affected! Let us quickly brief through it to understand how this statement is a myth.
There are four phases of a menstrual cycle, namely, –
1. Menstrual Phase, where the level of estrogen & progesterone in your body drops down!
2. Follicular Phase, where the follicles come out of your body and your period stops, re-stimulating the amount of estrogen production!
3. Ovulatory phase, where the estrogen production is at its peak, and you start witnessing the pre-menstrual symptoms!
4. Luteal phase, where you are almost on the verge to menstruate, and PMS symptoms may turn severe like high body temperature, anxiety & mood swings, and fatigue!
Medical science laid out that alcohol use is unlikely to have a negative impact during your menstrual phase, i.e., when you bleed. It is regardless of when, during your period, you want to have a glass of your favorite booze! Menstruation can last from 3 to 7 days, during which the uterus shall shed its inner lining and exits your body in the form of menstrual fluids & blood. During this phase, a glass, or two, of classic red wine or beer wouldn’t harm!
Likewise, the longest phase of your menstrual cycle, the follicular or proliferative phase, does not witness such negative impacts of alcohol intake. Or, at least, it is yet to be properly inferred, and researches are still on! Alcohol, however, enhances the follicle-stimulating & luteinizing hormones that come from your brain! At this time, your cravings for alcohol consumption shall be high due to the drastic change in the level of estrogen secretion, or rather, its restart. If, during this phase, there stands an increase in your androgen level, beware! That may be a result of excessive alcohol consumption!
The third phase, or the phase of ovulation, is not as vulnerable to alcohol as the last phase or luteal phase, but alas, it does hold many demerits. During ovulation, which usually begins on day 14th of the menstrual cycle, a mature egg gets realized from the ovary, passing down to the fallopian tube where they stay to get fertilized. It means this is the time when your egg fertilization takes place. So, heavy alcohol consumption or a sloshed-out cocktail party for the entire ovulatory phase can make you face problems to conceive!
However, multiple research has shown that people drinking alcohol during the luteal phase are likely to encounter conception issues at a 44 percent greater rate than the ones drinking during their ovulatory phase! Yes, the luteal phase is that time of your menstrual cycle when even a glass of booze can impact negatively! During this time, your uterus lining tends to get thicker, preparing for a possible pregnancy, and alcohol intake may lead to implantation defects. Thereupon, increasing the risk of early pregnancy loss! Thus, Kira C. Taylor, the Associate Professor at the University of Louisville, Department of Epidemiology & Population Health, recommends, “women should avoid alcohol in the second half of the menstrual cycle…if they are trying to conceive.”
So, the fact is drinking during the luteal or last phase of your menstrual cycle, i.e., just the days you feel like you are about to have your periods, is harmful and can pose a serious threat. Therefore, it is advisable to not drink at all during this phase of every month.
That does not mean you cannot drink a little during the other phases of your cycle!
But, it is also ideal to drink less; anytime be it so!
There is always an alternative to dropping out of Alcohol: Fact!
Did someone say that you have to abstain from alcohol when you are on your period? That is more of a myth! As evident from above, your menstrual phase & menstrual cycle are not the same things. Hence, considering alcohol intake in both the luteal phase & menstrual phase (when you bleed) as similar in terms of health vulnerability is more like a myth that becomes a historic fact these days!
When medical scientists look into it, with their vast expertise, they open our eyes and helps ease our dilemmas with authentic information & solution.
They do not ask you to completely drop out without giving an alternative.
No wonder, you cannot wait to hear it out, but before presenting it, I ought to tell you that the final & ultimate alternative is to keep your bars low to only one glass and avoid the temptation of trespassing them!
So, here come the alternatives! 1) Solutions containing alcohol & 2) Solutions without Alcohol!
Solutions containing Alcohol –
If you want to avoid the setbacks of alcohol during periods, the following solutions can serve!
- A classic wine that acts as a digestif or aperitif can be a better alternative for shopping!
- Or maybe, a bottle of beer! There are many that comprise less dosage of alcohol and can do no harm to you when you are having a period!
Indeed, Crafty beers are very popular these days!
That is not all! Even if you drink hard liquor and cannot avoid its cravings during your period, there is another way out!
You have to drink less or moderate!
And follow these steps –
- Drinking plenty of water to help compensate for dehydration and keep your body cool,
- Avoiding caffeine, milk, or sugary juices before or after you drink, or rather for the entire menstrual phase,
- Eating regular & timely meals including multitudes of vitamins that can refrain the period cramps, and
- Getting plenty of sleep for yourself and making an early night go-to-bed schedule shall act as your health booster!
But, you shall certainly have to avoid drinks, like –
- Fruity cocktails,
- Vodka with lime soda,
- Citrus line with tonic & gin, and so forth!
Solutions without Alcohol – If you can skip your temptation of drinking for a week, there is nothing better than that!
Perhaps, it is difficult to calm your cravings and the pleasure center of your brain during your period. But you can if you are determined to do so!
In that case, there exists some alternative that may help substitute for you! They are –
1. Green Tea, Ginger Tea, Peppermint Tea, & Chamomile Tea, as they can relieve you from period cramps and make you feel fresh & energetic! These solutions can deal with stomach upset, nausea, muscle spasms, & constipation. So, you do not need alcohol content to curb all these conditions if and when they arise.
2. Healthy & Herbal Coffee Substitute acting as a hot drink when you have breakfast or maybe as an evening pickup! It entails an organic mix of Turkish figs, Greek acorns, wheat, malted barley, and chicory. So, you can simultaneously enjoy a positive impact on your digestive process and fewer other problems.
3. Green Smoothies, especially Kiwi & Ginger made or added with other leafy veggies, can soothe your body; more when some almond milk is given! It shall be a good source of magnesium & iron, the mineral you need to keep away anxiety and fatigue.
4.32 ounces of water! Meaning, 8-10 full glasses! The best substitute for alcohol cravings during your period is lots of water, the compound that makes all other fluids. Or maybe, just some coconut water! It shall improve your blood circulation and prevent you from bloating or pelvic & abdominal cramps.
The best alternative on my note!
Be it on your period or on other days, You have to drink wisely: Fact!
From the entire note, it is quite visible to us that drinking is not a major problem if you cannot avoid it at all, but you need to stay stuck on how much to have and how rare to have!
That should be our call for the day! It is because drinking wisely can simultaneously give a sigh of relief to your period cramps.
You may face a severe problem, if not now, in the near future!
In order to understand that drinking wisely is true & authentic recommendation, you have to see how the other side appears! Here come a few stats & studies on the effects of excess alcohol consumption, particularly during periods!
- According to a 2002 Literature Review, the risk of breast cancer amongst women who drinks at least 45 grams of alcohol per day is nearly 1.46 times greater. It means 4.5 glasses and above can push you towards having breast cancer!
- According to a 2009 Study, an increase of 10 grams of alcohol per day can equally increase the risk of cancer by approximately 12 percent.
- Science Daily states that one extra binge drinking during the luteal phase can increase the rate of reduction in the odds of conception by 19 percent. During the ovulatory period, the rate is 41 percent!
- New Directions for Women reveals that alcohol-related issues are the most common ones in the United States, and precisely, for women.
- Research has shown that with the increase in one glass of alcohol a day, there comes a 79% increase in the PMS symptoms!
Hence, you have to set your limit when you drink while having a period! Thy be wisdom!
The Center for Disease Control & Prevention has defined this one drink limit as either of the following!
- A shot glass that holds 1.5 fluid ounces comprising 80-proof distilled alcohol (or having 40 percent alcohol content).
- 5 fluid ounces of wine bearing 12 percent alcohol content.
- 8 fluid ounces of malt liquor, containing 7 percent alcohol content.
- 12 fluid ounces of beer, the regular one, entailing 5 percent alcohol content.
Do you still suffer from increased PMS symptoms? Then, talk with our experts at www.healthfinder.in.