We all know how uncomfortable periods can be. Cravings, mood swings, skin breakouts, seeking attention, and let's not even get started with the period cramps.
We're also familiar with the harmful effects alcohol can have on us. Some people still drink, believing drinking can make them feel relaxed and calm during periods.
Here's something you should know: “Alcohol is dangerous to health,” especially during periods. Many people take this lightly and continue to drink. But you've got to be serious about this warning when you're on your period. It can affect your health like no other.
Even though the effects of alcohol on the human body have been extensively researched, there is still a mystery around the connection between alcohol intake and menstrual period.
So, can you drink alcohol during your period? Keep reading to find out the answer. Also, explore the scientific facts about drinking during your period.
What is a Menstrual Cycle?
First off, let’s understand the basics of periods.
The menstrual cycle is a natural and complex process that occurs in women every month. It's a series of hormonal and physiological changes that happen every 28 or 30 days. Most people call it a period or that time of the month.
It has four phases: menstruation, the follicular phase, ovulation, and the luteal phase.
In a biological sense, your body's menstrual cycle is a product of circulating hormone levels. These hormones are produced by your body's pituitary gland and hypothalamus.
As these hormone levels increase and decrease throughout a woman's cycle, various physiological activities occur in response.
The science behind drinking and the menstrual cycle
In premenopausal women, studies have shown that drinking alcohol often leads to an increase in estrogen and a decrease in progesterone. This process disrupts normal hormonal behaviors necessary for regular ovulation.
Since hormones are the foundations of the menstrual cycle, anything that impacts hormone levels can affect the processes that occur during this cycle.
For example, drinking, smoking, stress, and heavy workouts. Here, we will talk about drinking alcohol during your periods.
Can You Drink Alcohol On Your Period?
Let's get one thing clear before moving ahead: a few sips or a glass of alcohol is barely a problem. As with any health issue, giving up alcohol is advised in a general sense. But we all know it's the excess and regular binge drinking that we have to be careful about.
Studies have shown that drinking a small amount (a glass or two) of your favorite beer or wine may help you feel less anxious and more relaxed. However, excessive drinking may have a bad effect on your menstruation.
Alcohol tolerance is lower during your period, and you are more inclined to become intoxicated quickly. So, unless you want to faint out, don't drink more than 1-2 glasses.
Scientific Facts about Drinking on your period
While drinking alcohol on period might seem like a good idea to relax, it has many negative impacts on your health. Although many different research bodies are studying the effects of alcohol, it's difficult to conclude how or if alcohol affects your menstrual cycle.
But, here are some of the facts that you should be aware of before consuming alcohol during that time of the month:
Fact #1: Drinking alcohol can intensify your menstrual cramps.
Cramps are the worst part of the period. And you know what will make it worse? Drinking alcohol.
Yes, drinking can lead to severe dehydration, exacerbating the already painful period cramps. This dehydration thickens the blood and menstrual fluids, which makes them harder to pass and more painful to flow through.
So try to avoid drinking as much as you can. You're already dealing with horrible cramps, and you sure don't wanna make it worse, right?!
Fact #2: Drinking alcohol can cause hormonal imbalance.
This is yet another important reason to avoid alcohol during periods. Generally, your menstrual cycle is regulated by a delicate balance of hormones. When you drink alcohol, it can disrupt this balance.
As explained, alcohol may affect the levels of estrogen and progesterone, hormones that play an important role in menstrual health. Moreover, disruption of these hormones can lead to irregular periods, worsened PMS, and increased menstrual pain.
One study showed increased levels of testosterone, estrogen, and LH after just one alcoholic drink, which likely affects the menstrual cycle.
Fact #3: Drinking alcohol may increase your cravings.
As you may know, hunger is real during that time of the month. Part of why you might feel hungrier and crave certain foods, especially fast foods, during PMS is due to insufficient hydration.
Alcohol dehydrates your body, which, in turn, increases your cravings. If you want to keep your cravings under control, stay hydrated while drinking alcohol in the days leading up to your period.
Fact #4: Drinking alcohol may increase your fatigue.
Your cycle's luteal and menstrual phases can leave you feeling exhausted all the time. Alcohol is a depressant that collapses your nervous system, and many alcoholic drinks contain a large amount of sugar.
If you're already tired, drinking is bound to cause a sugar crash, leaving you much more tired than before. Drinking alcohol also reduces the quality of your sleep, so your body may need some time to catch up after an alcohol-fueled night during these two phases.
Fact #5: Drinking Alcohol can make your bleeding heavier.
As alcohol is a blood thinner, it elevates the estrogen levels in your body. This makes your period heavier or may cause you to bleed more.
This occurs because estrogen promotes the growth of endometrial tissue and the shed uterine lining. As a result, you'll have to shed throughout your period, which means more bleeding.
What’s more, drinking alcohol can dry your mucous membranes and uterine lining, which can affect the flow of your menstrual flow.
That being said, intentionally dehydrating yourself won't make a heavy phase go away. Moreover, alcohol is a blood thinner, so again, you could experience a heavy flow.
Fact #6: You may experience extreme mood swings.
Being moody is what every woman experiences during PMS and periods. Drinking alcohol will intensify your mood swings.
According to research, drinking alcohol during the luteal phase may have an apparent impact on your mood. This is already a phase in your menstrual cycle when you may suffer mood swings, and alcohol can worsen those highs and lows.
When you drink, you may experience more satisfaction but also more sensations of sadness, similar to depression and anxiety.
As drinking can increase levels of estrogen in your body, it may make you feel more emotional about things that are not big otherwise. Do yourself a favor by avoiding alcohol while you are already feeling terrible.
Fact #7: Drinking alcohol may affect your fertility.
Alcohol's influence on your hormones may result in irregular or absent ovulation. On top of that, drinking can affect when you ovulate. If you're planning to conceive or get pregnant, your timing could be off if you're targeting your fertile window.
Think ahead and plan your drinking around your ovulation. Better yet, reduce your alcohol intake for an extended period of time to encourage more regular ovulation.
A new study reveals that there may be a weak link between low to moderate alcohol intake and fertility declines. Many researchers have connected heavy drinking to infertility, while others have discovered no link between alcohol and fertility at all.
One possible reason how alcohol might affect fertility is through peak levels of estrogen hormones. This may obstruct your follicular development and ovulation. However, this is still only a theory.
Fact #8: Drinking alcohol can cause irregular periods.
Irregular periods are extremely annoying. We all know that maintaining a regular menstrual cycle is an important indicator of your reproductive health.
Your cycle runs on a precise symphony of fluctuating hormones. So when alcohol enters your body and alters those levels, cycle irregularities might occur.
According to research, even a small amount of alcohol consumption can lead to irregularities. The more alcohol you consume, the more likely you are to experience menstrual cycle irregularities. In some cases, it can lead to amenorrhea or a halt of your menstrual cycle.
If your period stops for more than two months, check with your doctor or gynecologist and discuss your problems.
Fact #9: Drinking alcohol can interfere with your sleep.
Getting a good night's sleep is important, especially during periods when your body is going through a lot.
Alcohol can interfere with your sleep cycle and impact your quality of sleep. Poor sleep can exacerbate menstrual symptoms like moodiness, fatigue, and irritability.
Fact #10: Alcohol can lower magnesium levels in your body.
Scientifically speaking, your body's magnesium levels fluctuate during your periods. Drinking alcohol might even aggravate the fluctuations and deplete magnesium levels.
If you have low magnesium, your blood sugar levels may drop. This might cause dizziness and cravings, resulting in a negative overall feeling.
Fact #11: Drinking alcohol on your period can affect your liver.
Your liver is multitasking during your period. When you drink alcohol, it keeps your liver busy. Of course, it affects your liver, as it's the vital organ charged with processing alcohol.
During your period, your liver is preoccupied with processing alcohol instead of breaking down additional hormones. This means you will have more pain during your period than usual.
The byproducts of alcohol breakdown by the liver might potentially cause inflammation. When combined with pro-inflammatory mediators known as prostaglandins secreted from the womb during your period and dehydration, you may end up feeling extremely unwell.
Fact #12: Alcohol can make you dehydrated.
We all know that alcohol is a diuretic. In a biological sense, alcohol blocks the release of a hormone called antidiuretic hormone or ADH. That's why your kidneys quit doing their regular job of reabsorbing water.
As a result, you get to urinate a lot and become dehydrated. Dehydration causes your blood to thicken, which can have various impacts on your periods.
Your menstruation may stop temporarily or become extremely light, but other symptoms, such as cramping and bloating, may intensify.
In addition, when consumed in moderation, it can induce an increase in blood glucose levels. After ovulation, many women become more insulin-resistant in the second half of the menstrual cycle. Drinking can make things worse.
Apart from the direct impact on menstrual health, drinking comes with other health risks. It can lead to increased calorie intake, which may cause you to gain weight.
So, What Should You Drink During Your Period?
You need to be extra careful on your period as your body is going through a lot. You must keep an eye on your diet and what you give your body. Alcohol is certainly not on the list.
Instead of grabbing alcoholic beverages like beer or wine, you can consider plenty of other healthy options like:
- Coconut water
- Ginger tea
- Chamomile tea
- Bone broth
- Peppermint tea
- Green smoothies
Tips For Managing Your Symptoms During Periods –
Before anything, try to cut back on your alcohol consumption during your period, as it can dehydrate you. Other tips to relieve your period struggles are:
- Stay hydrated.
- Exercise regularly and stay active.
- Drink ginger water plus lemon.
- Eat a well-balanced diet, including whole foods, fruits, and vegetables.
- Say no caffeinated beverages, including coffee and high-sugar drinks.
- Take care of your mental health.
- Manage stress by doing meditation or yoga.
- Have an orgasm.
Final Thoughts –
So these are the scientific facts you must be aware of. To that end, drinking on your period can impact a woman's body in more ways than one. The effect alcohol can have on your life stretches as far as affecting fertility, immunity, and liver health.
Even though alcohol has a detrimental impact on your periods, it doesn't mean you should completely avoid it. Just enjoy it in moderation.
It's your call. You've got enough going on at that time of the month. So next time you think about going to a party or club, think twice. As a woman, it's your right to prioritize your health more than anything.
1. What happens if we drink alcohol during periods?
Ans: Drinking alcohol during periods can lead to dehydration and impact hormone levels. Besides, it can worsen your cramps by thickening up blood and other menstrual fluids. This makes it more difficult to go to the uterus and come out of the body.
2. Is it OK to drink alcohol during periods?
Ans: Yes, drinking a sip or a glass of alcohol is fine during periods. But, excessive drinking can intensify your menstrual cramps and lead to dehydration.
3. Are you more sensitive to alcohol during periods?
Ans: Yes. Alcohol intolerance is lower during your menstrual cycle. Hormone fluctuations make you more intoxicated. In essence, alcohol metabolism slows down during the premenstrual phase, which causes more alcohol to enter your bloodstream, and you get drunk faster.
4. What not to drink on your period?
Ans: During your periods, you should avoid drinking high-sugar drinks like soda, alcohol, and caffeinated beverages.
5. Does alcohol make your period worse?
Ans: Yes, alcohol can intensify your period cramps, including bloating and moodiness. It also causes heavier bleeding in some.
6. Why does my period stop when I drink alcohol?
Ans: Alcohol increases the level of hormones like estrogen, testosterone, and even luteinizing hormones. This causes hormonal imbalances and may stop or cause irregular periods.