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Drinking alcohol during period may raise PMS risk. Here’s how to ease pain

Drinking while on period can mess with women’s menstruation. A study has found that alcohol intake was associated with a ‘moderate’ increase in the risk of pre-menstrual syndrome (PMS).

health Updated: Apr 24, 2018 15:32 IST
Sanya Panwar
Sanya Panwar
Hindustan Times, New Delhi
PMS,WOMAN,Alcohol
PMS (Pre-menstrual syndrome) includes a range of physical and emotional symptoms including mood swings, tender breasts, food craving, fatigue, irritability and depression. (HT Illustration: Shrikrishna Patkar)

If you’re a female, there are certain things you might be putting in your body during that time of the month that will cause your menstruation to spiral a bit out of control and even make symptoms of pre-menstrual syndrome (PMS) worse. And, unfortunately, one of those things is alcohol.

Women who are heavy drinkers are at increased risk of PMS, new research shows. “Together with other researchers, we believe that alcohol increases PMS risk by altering the level of hormones, such as gonadotropin, during the menstrual cycle,” Dr Bahi Takkouche, the study’s senior author, told Reuters Health by email.

The study, published in the journal BMJ Open, examined data from 19 studies and found that alcohol intake was associated with a ‘moderate’ increase in the risk of PMS. Up to 40% of women in the US have at least moderate PMS, while rates in global studies have ranged from 10-98%, Takkouche and colleagues noted.

Drinkers were 45% more likely to suffer symptoms than non-drinkers. This rose to 79% for heavy drinkers.

In the US, PMS affects between 20% and 40% of women, causing a range of physical and emotional symptoms including: mood swings, tender breasts, food craving, fatigue, irritability and depression, during the luteal phase of the menstrual cycle (it occurs after ovulation, when the ovaries release an egg and before the period starts).

Menstrual pain has often been compared to a heart attack and may be a sign of endometriosis. (Shutterstock)

A number of studies have shown an increased burden of PMS among drinkers, but it was not known whether this is due to alcohol itself or whether women were reaching for the bottle to mitigate symptoms.

Researchers from Spain, the University of Southampton and University Hospital Southampton NHS Foundation Trust, conducted their analysis on all available research covering the topic of alcohol and PMS reported Mirror UK.

“These findings are important given that the worldwide prevalence of alcohol drinking among women is not negligible,’ the authors wrote. In Europe six in 10 women are drinkers, with 12.6% being classed as ‘heavy’ drinkers.

The authors estimated that in Europe, 21% of PMS cases may be associated to alcohol intake. Furthermore, heavy drinking may be associated with 4% of the PMS cases in the world and over 9% in Europe, they added.

“If this association is of causal nature, eliminating heavy drinking in women would then prevent one in every 12 cases of PMS in Europe,” the authors wrote.

Takkouche’s team is now investigating the role of tobacco smoking and psychological factors, including stress, in PMS.

Menstrual pain has often been compared to a heart attack and may be a sign of endometriosis. But there is not much that is known to offer relief from it, but some measures can help alleviate the pain to an extent. Here they are:

1. Drink tea (with low levels of caffeine).

2. Have lots of water.

3. Make ginger your BFF.

4. Heat relieves pain.

5. Say no to coffee.

6. Avoid fatty food, have bananas.

7. Have an orgasm.

8. Try these simple cinnamon-infused recipes.

Follow @htlifeandstyle for more.

First Published: Apr 24, 2018 15:32 IST