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Does drinking alcohol affect your periods?


With the festive season around the corner, we must talk about alcohol consumption.

No, we won't be asking you to stop drinking.

From celebrating Diwali to attending New Year's parties, we understand that it's hard to avoid drinking during the celebration. But knowing about its effects will help you make responsible choices.

Let's discuss how it can impact your menstruation cycle or, does a correlation even exist between the two?

Starting with the studies, there are no concrete answers.

However, a study published in the journal BMJ Open compiled the data from 19 other studies and revealed that alcohol intake during menstruation can increase PMS symptoms.

Some of the effects of alcohol are:

Cycle Irregularities

Alcohol can increase estrogen and testosterone levels in the body which can alter the period cycle.

Prolonged Cramps and Pain

Many argue that drinking relieves the cramps. 

But the truth is alcohol is a diuretic, that is, it causes the kidneys to produce more urine. Frequent urination activities cause dehydration. And dehydration, in turn, causes cramps.

So, if you are prone to having cramps during menstrual days, alcohol will intensify the pain.

PRO Tip: Drink more water during periods. Not only will the water reduce the pain, but also it will thin blood and mucus, which makes it easier for the blood to pass through the body.

Intensified PMS Symptoms

Alcohol can lead to more frequent headaches and mood fluctuations. It can also increase breast tenderness and intensify your emotions.

Decreased Magnesium Levels

Menstruation can alter magnesium levels in the body. Consuming alcohol can add oil to the fire. It can worsen the impact to the extent that it may cause you dizziness and stronger cravings.

So, these are some effects that you should look out for. 

Depending on what you drink and how much you drink, the results can be varying.

If you drink in moderation, alcohol won't have much impact. However, chronic alcohol consumption can have long-term and permanent effects. 

It may lead to hormonal disbalance and can lead to infertility.

How much should you drink? 

We suggest that 3-4 drinks a week is fine to enjoy the festive season without harming your body. 

Knowing how your body reacts during your periods and how long it takes you to become intoxicated can improve your drinking decisions.

What should I drink?

Don't worry. You don't have to abstain from alcohol altogether.

Here are some healthier choices that you can opt for to lessen its health implications:

  • Instead of having neat shots, take diluted ones.
    Mixing alcohol with soda not only reduces the overall consumption of alcohol but also increases faster absorption due to the effervescence which in turn serves the purpose i.e. getting drunk.

  • Don’t mix drinks. Jumping between different kinds of drinks usually means you drink more overall. Each drink has a different strength, so it’s easy to lose track of how much alcohol you’ve had.
  • Drink something else in between. Have a non-alcoholic drink in between. This slows down how much alcohol you’ll drink that day. Because alcohol makes you dehydrated, drinking water also reduces hangovers.

You might ask, What about coffee?

Refrain from it as well. Like alcohol, coffee increases the heart rate and blood pressure leading to more tension and anxiety.

What is the bottom line?

While permanent termination might not be the best solution for you, moderating your drinking level can help you have healthy period cycles. Moreover, drinking during the festive season is okay if you make responsible decisions and compensate with water intake.