Alcohol and Peri/PostMenopauseAug 04, 2023
This is a hot topic and one that I've played around with since my 20's.
Currently I'm in the longest time period I've gone without alcohol since being pregnant (twice) and my goal is to stay this way for the rest of my life.
I feel amazing without it and if you're looking to cut back or cut it out of your life, I have a lot of resources that may help.
There are a lot of reasons why someone may want to cut back or cut alcohol out of their diet/life, especially in the peri/post menopause time of life.
New studies suggest that alcohol can have wide-ranging health effects even at low levels, including neurotoxicity. Moderate alcohol consumption may increase some people's risk of neurodegeneration (i.e., progressive damage to brain tissues).1
Alcohol intake may worsen some menopause symptoms and concerns like hot flashes/flushes.
Alcohol may interfere with sleep quality. Even though you may fall asleep a little easier, the actual sleep is of lesser quality.2
Alcohol affects fluid balance in the body by acting on the hormones that regulate sodium and water balance. Bloating, water retention, and "puffiness" may be noticed after drinking.
Alcohol may affect recovery from exercise, which is already taking a blow and slowing down anyway during peri and post menopause.3
Alcohol adds calories that are stored for energy, but with no nutritional benefit. Especially if they are more on the sugary side.
The American College of Cardiology (ACC) and the American heart Association (AHA) guidelines encourage limiting alcohol consumption to no more than one drink per day (a drink being equal to a 12-oz bottle of beer, a 5-oz glass of wine, or 1.5 oz of 80-proof spirit).4
Some evidence suggests that light to moderate use of alcohol lowers cardiovascular disease mortality in women aged older than 50 years who are at greater risk for coronary heart disease; however, higher levels (>7 drinks/week) may increase risk of hypertension, stroke and ischemic heart disease.5
Even moderate alcohol intake may increase the risk of breast cancer.6
It's mind blowing to me that there are no studies showing that topical vaginal estrogen (which can help prevent and/or reduce urinary tract infections, vaginal dryness, pain with sex, urinary urgency and frequency, tissue and muscle quality . . .) has not been shown to increase risk of cancer or cardiovascular disease in women but alcohol sure has. Yet women and their healthcare providers are reluctant to use/prescribe topical vaginal estrogen but don't think twice about that second or third glass of wine.
If you'd like to check out who and what has helped me recently with my no-alcohol journey, it's been my friend Courtney Andersen.
She has a lot of different ways to connect with her (podcast, class, coaching, free resources, community, book) and you can find them all through her website. Click here
I also benefitted tremendously from reading the book The Alcohol Experiment, by Annie Grace. You can find this book on my recommended products page.
This book is life-changing. There are a lot of great quit-lit books out there! Please feel free to email me [email protected] if you need any guidance in this area, I'd be happy to help!
1. Topiwala A, Wang C, Ebmeier KP, Burgess S, Bell S, Levey DF, et al. Associations between moderate alcohol consumption, brain iron, and cognition in UK Biobank participants: Observational and mendelian randomization analyses. PLoS Med. 2022 Jul; 19 (7): e1004039.
2. Guandalini LS, da Silva EF, Lopes J de L, Santos VB, Lopes CT, de Barros ALBL. Analysis of the evidence of related factors, associated conditions and at-risk populations of the NANDA-I nursing diagnosis insomnia. Int J Nurs Sci. 2020 Oct 10; 7 (4): 466-76.
3. Caceres-Ayala C, Pautassi RM, Acuna MJ, Cerpa W, Rebolledo DL. The functional and melecular effects of problematic alcohol consumption on skeletal muscle: a focus on athletic performance. Am J Drug Alcohol Abuse. 2022 Mar 4; 48 (2): 133-47.
4. Mosca L, Benjamin EJ, Berra K, et al; American Heart Association. Effectiveness-based guidelines for the prevention of cardiovascular disease in women - 2011 update: a guideline from the American Heart Association. J Am Coll Cardiol. 2011; 57 (12): 1404-1423.
5. Bell S, Daskalopoulou M, Rapsomaniki E, et al. Association between clinically recorded alcohol consumption and initial presentation of 12 cardiovascular diseases: population based cohort study using linked health records. BMJ. 2017; 356: j909.
6. Willet WC, Stampfer MJ, COlditz GA, Rosner BA, Hennekens CH, Speizer FE. Moderate alcohol consumption and the risk of breast cancer. N Engl J Med. 1987; 316 (19): 1174-1180.
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