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ALCOHOL AND PMS

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Of all the many ways that men and women are different, one that may not have occurred to you is their drinking habits. Women are more likely to drinking wine or cocktails than spirits, and they can hold less before becoming intoxicated. The decision not to drink can also be different for women – they might not want to lose control, or they’re concerned about gaining weight if they drink too much, or maybe they’re trying to become pregnant. Here’s one fact that might make it even less likely a woman would decide to drink: a new study has shown that premenstrual syndrome can be triggered by alcohol.

Premenstrual syndrome, or PMS, is a combination of symptoms that begin a week or two before a woman’s menstrual cycle begins. Some of the symptoms are:

Emotional and behavioral symptoms

  • Tension or anxiety
  • Depressed mood
  • Crying spells
  • Mood swings and irritability or anger
  • Appetite changes and food cravings
  • Trouble falling asleep (insomnia)
  • Social withdrawal
  • Poor concentration
  • Change in libido

Physical signs and symptoms

  • Joint or muscle pain
  • Headache
  • Fatigue
  • Weight gain related to fluid retention
  • Abdominal bloating
  • Breast tenderness
  • Acne flare-ups
  • Constipation or diarrhea
  • Alcohol intolerance

It’s estimated that three out of every four women will experience PMS at some point, although the severity of the symptoms varies greatly. For some women, it’s enough to affect their daily lives and cause them to miss out on work or other activities. No one is sure exactly what causes PMS, although depression, hormone changes, and chemical changes in the brain are thought to play a role.

Now, researchers from the University of Santiago de Compostela and the Centro de Investigación Biomédica en Red de Epidemiología y Salud Pública in Madrid, both in Spain, and the University of Southampton in the United Kingdom, have determined that a woman’s drinking habits can influence PMS. In an article published in BMJ Open, they analyzed the data from 19 studies and 47,000 participants and determined that women who drink are estimated to have a 45 percent higher risk of PMS, and heavy drinkers have a 79 percent higher risk. Eleven percent of all cases of PMS might be associated with drinking.

It’s possible, of course, that there are other factors involved. Women might purposely drink more around that time of the month in an effort to ease the symptoms of PMS. It’s also widely believed that drinking red wine can help with menstrual cramps. It contains a compound called resveratrol, which can act as a muscle relaxer. Still, the researchers believe there is a cause and effect relationship between drinking and PMS symptoms. Alcohol can create hormonal imbalances and cause mood changes like depression, both of which are thought to be causes of PMS.

If you or a loved one need help with quitting drugs or alcohol, consider Asana Recovery. We offer medical detox, along with both residential and outpatient programs, and you’ll be supervised by a highly trained staff of medical professionals, counselors, and therapists. Call us any time at (949) 438-4504 to get started.

 

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