Contrary to popular, and long held beliefs, having an alcoholic beverage occasionally may not have a huge impact on your period. However, heavy drinking certainly will. According to the Center for Disease Control and Prevention, heavy drinking is considered eight or more drinks per week. However, drinking small amounts of alcohol may not have a huge impact on your cycle. If you choose to drink alcohol during your period, it is essential to know the risks and impact on your fertility and menstruation.
Can You Drink Alcohol on Your Period?
Yes, but it may come with risks. Studies have shown that drinking a glass or two of your favorite wine or beer may help you feel less anxious and more relaxed. However, heavy drinking may have a negative effect on your period.
How Does Alcohol Affect Your period?
Alcohol increases your sex hormone levels which include estrogen and testosterone. When you are on your period, estrogen is usually low so this temporary hormone increase may affect the amount of bleeding during your period. In addition, when you drink alcohol, your luteinizing hormone helps control your menstrual cycle, such as how long you bleed, when you start, and how heavy your period is. When the luteinizing hormone is disrupted, your period may become unpredictable. With all the sudden hormone changes due to alcohol consumption, you may notice period symptoms worsening, such as moodiness, insomnia, bleeding, and menstrual cramps.
Alcohol may affect your fertility
If you are trying to conceive, it may be a good idea to hold off on drinking alcohol even before you receive that positive pregnancy test. This is because excessive alcohol intake may affect your period cycle and when you ovulate. Reducing alcohol consumption may promote a more regular menstrual cycle and predictable ovulation.
Alcohol may affect your cramping
During your period, the hormone prostaglandins cause muscles in your uterus to contract, which aids in the shedding of the lining of your uterus. Alcohol increases the levels of prostaglandins in your system. The increase of this hormone may cause more severe menstrual cramps and bloat.
Alcohol is dehydrating
It may come as a surprise that alcohol is very dehydrating. This is because alcohol is a diuretic. Therefore, heavy drinking may lead to increased bloating, cramping, and fatigue. It is important to stay hydrated and drink water throughout the day––especially if you are consuming alcohol.
Alcohol may make your bleeding heavier
Alcohol can thin your blood because it reduces the ability of your red blood cells to stick together and clot. Since alcohol elevates your estrogen levels and thins your blood, it can make your bleeding heavier. Definitely a major reason to avoid heavy drinking during this time.
Alcohol may affect your ability to take pain medication
Sometimes reaching for a beer or a glass of wine feels like the perfect remedy after a long day while on your period. Then, suddenly after a few too many glasses of wine, you start to notice an increase in period cramps, so you reach for over-the-counter pain medication. This may sound like a good idea. However, alcohol and pain medications such as acetaminophen are not a good mix. It is no secret that alcohol is not good for your liver, and certain pain medications mixed with alcohol may increase your risk of liver damage. If you are prone to cramps during your period, it may be a good idea to stay away from alcohol so you may take pain medications.
Alcohol may affect your magnesium levels.
Not many women know magnesium levels play an important role during your menstrual cycle! Alcohol causes magnesium levels in your body to increase, which may lead to unwanted side effects such as dizziness. In addition, when magnesium levels begin to drop, they may cause cravings for sweets, which may or may not be harmful if you have a sweet tooth.
Tips for managing your period if you choose to consume alcohol
Your body naturally needs more water while on your period due to the decrease in estrogen and progesterone levels. It is important to drink at least eight glasses of water a day to combat bloating, constipation, and headaches.
Take care of your mental health
Alcohol has an effect on your mental health and may increase anxiety and influence your mood negatively. It is important to take time for yourself and do things that you find relaxing and healthy for your mind. Some women enjoy cuddling up with a good book, while others may enjoy a bubble bath. Whichever you decide, you need some TLC too.
Stay active and exercise
Even light exercise such as walking is good for you while on your period. Exercise helps to regulate your cycle and decrease cramping. In addition, exercise increases endorphins in your body which will improve your mood and may decrease feelings of anxiety.
Leak Proof Period Underwear
Leak proof period underwear is a perfect addition to your closet. When going out for a night on the town while on your period, you might be worried about your tampon leaking, or if you can see a pad lining under your pants. Leak proof underwear is a discrete sustainable option for your period. They are designed in a variety of absorbency options as well as styles. You do not need to sacrifice that cute dress for your dinner date just because you are on your period! Not to mention, leak proof underwear may be worn for up to 12 hours of continuous wear before needing to be changed. Period underwear allows you to focus on things that matter most to you and leave the worries of leaks in the past.
While alcohol has a negative effect on our periods, it does not mean that alcohol may need to be avoided altogether! Everything in moderation. The effects alcohol has on your period rely on many factors, such as how much you drink, how often you drink, and if you are taking medications. Occasionally, having a drink or two may not affect your period enough. However, if you are a heavy drinker, you may notice irregular periods, heavy cramping, and dehydration. If you want more information on alcohol and your cycle, talk to a medical professional to learn more.