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Is Wine O'Clock aggravating your perimenopause symptoms?

Updated: Feb 9

I'm not sure if Wine O'clock is just an Australian thing? We often see this all over social media, and is quite a common saying after a stressful day, but is alcohol unhealthy? Well unfortunately the answer is yes and it can aggravate menopausal symptoms. Alcohol is metabolized in the liver and as the body sees this as a toxin it will do everything to get it out of the body at the expense of everything else.

Is there a healthy limit?

In January 2023 The world health organization published through the Lancet that no level of alcohol consumption is safe due to its carcinogenic effects and currently no safe threshold has been established. The risk of developing alcohol related cancers such as breast cancer increases with the more alcohol consumed.

Why does alcohol make your perimenopausal symptoms worse?

Women tend to be smaller than men and have less Alcohol dehydrogenase which breaks down the alcohol. As we age the rate at which the liver is also able to function also slows. This means that whilst the body is trying to break down the alcohol other processes such as metabolizing hormones, fats, glucose etc. slows down and backs up . Estrogen metabolism and regulation can become altered, worsening the rollercoaster effect of perimenopause.

The pathways detoxifying the alcohol also cause oxidative stress, which leads to inflammation and liver damage, eventually this could lead to scarring and cirrhosis, depending on how much alcohol is being consumed. Studies show that binge drinking is more harmful to the liver.

A study of approx 300 women aged between 45-55 found that regular alcohol consumption increased hot flushes and night sweats. Its thought that this is due to alcohol causing vasoconstriction which raises the bodies internal temperature. This process that causes the vasoconstriction is also thought to play a role in hypertension and cardiovascular disease over time.

Not only is alcohol high in calories because it slows the metabolism of fats and sugars it can lead to you piling on that extra weight.

Whilst a glass of wine or two in the evening may seem like a good idea to help you relax, alcohol disrupts circadian rhythms and hinders your ability to get a deep sleep

Fluctuating hormone levels during perimenopause can lead to anxiety and depression which can be exacerbated by alcohol which is central nervous system depressant. Alcohol can also impair your ability to think clearly and you may notice that brain fog is worse the day after you have had a drink.

Giving up alcohol

One of the things to do is recognize your trigger for reaching for that glass of wine, and whilst you may not be able to avoid the trigger you can plan ahead and have a non alcoholic alternative available.

Good nutrition is also vital to help your body cope with the stresses and strains of perimenopause.

Exercise also helps boost feel good neurotransmitters and helps with sleep.

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