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The Pitfalls Of Menopause And Alcohol Consumption   

- By Priyanka Sawant

Menopause and Alcohol Consumption

Menopause and alcohol consumption is a relationship left mostly unexplored. While menopause symptoms and symptoms of alcohol consumption are usually studied separately, their combined bonanza is hardly ever talked about. Well, it might surprise you to know that a number of menopause symptoms affect the same areas of your body that alcohol does. So your body takes double the hit through menopause and alcohol consumption when it needs to be nurtured and cared for instead.

Now you might find yourself dredging up the article you came across in some magazine that said how great wine is for your health. While it might have a sliver of truth, reality for the most part begs to differ. Age makes women and men more sensitive to alcohol. The effects of alcohol you might have felt after consuming an entire bottle in your 20s, now you might feel after drinking a glass or two during menopause. We all know how bad our hangovers have become as we’ve aged! 

The reason is that your body holds less water because your cartilage and tendons tend to lose their ability to retain water as you age. Less water in the body equals to less alcohol being diluted, which results in feeling the effects of alcohol more quickly.Women feel the effects of alcohol more acutely than men due to their smaller size. So we absorb alcohol faster than men do. We have fewer enzymes used to regulate alcohol in our stomachs compared to men. This gives birth to the stereotype of women being lightweight drinkers. Unfortunately, it has its basis in biology.

Drinking Alcohol ANd Menopause

Moderation, it is said, is the key to everything in life. It might be hard to define what falls under moderate from person to person though. What might be moderate for you, might make another pass out blind drunk. And vice versa.

A number of things have to be considered to define moderate alcohol consumption. Age, weight, familiarity to drinking alcohol, other health conditions you might be dealing with, medications you might be on, are some of the factors that influence how your body might respond to varying quantities of alcohol. 

Once you start drinking it might be hard to draw the line between moderate drinking, flirting with the line and going straight over. Especially as we age and go through various mental, emotional and physical changes, alcohol might take on a different role in your life. Menopause struts in and changes the game. Menopause symptoms arrive like a tornado into your life, altering everything you believed to be true about your body and yourself. So when alcohol is added to the mix, there's a good possibility of a shitstorm on the horizon. 

So let's take a look at the effects of alcohol consumption on your body when you're going through the customised hell of menopause.

Effects of Alcohol Consumption During Menopause

Mental Loss Of Reality :

Once inebriated, you might not even realise when one drink turns to five. Alcohol leads to changes in your typical behaviour and impairs your ability to make smart decisions. Your mental clarity goes for a toss. Menopause symptoms, in their own right, screw with you mentally as well. Someone tapping their leg, or an innocent comment by your partner, might just set you off. It's not the world out to irritate you, it's just menopause symptoms setting your teeth on edge. 

Irritation, Anxiety and Depression, are some of the major menopause symptoms you need to look out for. Keeping an eye out on your mental health and managing the various menopause symptoms, is of utmost importance. You might need to alter your habits and lifestyle to accommodate the ever changing needs of your body. 

You might be in 7th heaven as you feel the woozy warmth from the alcohol sliding from your tongue, down your throat, into your stomach. Effectively driving all of your menopause woes right out of your brain. However, alcohol is a depressant. While your brain loves a bit of alcohol, any more of it makes the chemicals in your brain go lopsided right alongside your balance. Your emotions and inhibitions might also be all over the place, with the contents of your stomach. Since women enduring menopause symptoms are more susceptible to anxiety and depression, alcohol can make those negative feelings a whole lot worse. 

Menopause symptoms affect your memory and ability to concentrate. You might have gone through life remembering every phone number, birthday, anniversary, and everything in between. Yet now you might walk into the room and forget what you’re there for. Or while talking to your friend, your mind might wander. You have no idea what she has been talking about for the last 5 mins. You can't even ask her to say it again. This is the third time she'd repeating it, to begin with. Your natural response to anything these days might be a resonating ‘huh?’, ‘pardon me’, or ‘could you please say that again?’. 

It's alright though. Take a breath. Happens to the best of us.You add alcohol to these menopause symptoms, and you might be in for a rude awakening. The inebriating properties of alcohol are infamous to begin with. 

Mixed with menopause, the end result is pure agony. It could end with severe headaches too. Alcohol consumption leaves you with a hangover of varying proportions. The proportions grow larger as you age and hit menopause. So the feeling that your head is being split open in the middle with an axe is definitely amplified.

Altered Coordination :

You might have seen or even been the person who loses all control after drinking and ends up knocking into random pieces of furniture or waking up in a strange bed. Your friends might end up acting like your crutches to keep you vertical. No judgement here.
Being hurt while your drunk might not be a rare thing anymore. Unfortunately, menopause symptoms not only make you prone to bruising but it also can trigger vertigo. So menopause means you’re in a state of being drunk, leaning on stuff with no alcohol in your body. Pour alcohol in and you don't need to be on a Ferris wheel to find the world turned upside down. 

Loss of Coordination After Drinking Alcohol

Alcohol Effects on Bones

Thinning Bones :

As you age your bones lose their density and become thinner. They’re more prone to breaking. Menopause symptoms might introduce osteoporosis in your life which is a medical condition in which the bones become brittle and fragile from loss of tissue.

Alcohol further contributes to the thinning of bones. It increases the possibility of encountering osteoporosis in your life. It can also lead to falling and fractures which might require surgery. The thinning of bones is irreversible. 

So prevention is the only cure you’ve got. Indulgence in alcohol might also lead to muscle cramping, weakness and eventually muscle death. 

Sexual Dysfunction :

Over a longer period of time, drinking excessive amounts of alcohol may cause infertility. On the other hand, it leads to erectile dysfunction in men. 

Menopause symptoms in their own right, can cause discomfort during sex, low sex drive, and sore breasts. So while the idea of drinking to bring down inhibitions might seems like a good one, it might not actually work during your menopause phase.

Alcohol Consumption & Sexual Dysfunction

Insomnia After Drinking Alcohol

Insomnia :

Menopause symptoms might make you hate anyone who can fall asleep in a blink of an eye. It starts off innocently enough with your sleep curve dropping a few inches during perimenopause. 

Then menopause rolls in and with it your sleep schedule rolls off of the fucking cliff. While alcohol might seem like a relatively safe solution to get a few hours of sleep, you might want to rethink the decision to pour that nightcap.

Alcohol makes you drowsy, but the quality of sleep that you get from it is highly questionable. You feel recharged only when you get your recommended amount of R.E.M sleep. Alcohol inhibits the body’s ability to reach and stay in the R.E.M phase. So alcohol might help you successfully sleep through the night, but there's a high possibility you might wake up tired and drowsy, instead of refreshed and energetic. 

Stomach Distress :

Drinking excessively can lead to bloating, gas and painful ulcers. It might also cause diarrhoea. Menopause symptoms further instigate issues ranging from slight heartburn or nausea to serious ones. 

Stomach distress as you might very well know adds to the feeling of discomfort and might hamper your sleep cycles as well. 

Fatigue After Drinking Alcohol

Fatigue :

Menopause symptoms might make life feel like a never-ending phase of being tired day in and day out. Chores that earlier might have felt like a breeze, now make you feel like you’ve run the marathon. 

Need to run an errand? That's what husband, children and the stranger on the street are for. Perimenopause first introduces fatigue that claims your normal life for its own and introduces you to your new reality of being an ever tired blob. 

Now while you’re already going through this, adding alcohol might make it a thousand times worse. Hangovers add to the fatigue. Plus it screws with your sleep, so that sucks your energy right out. 

Weight Gain :

Weight gain is the curse we inherit as we grow older. Our metabolism slows down with age, and perimenopause, menopause symptoms and alcohol consumption screw it even further. 

Bloating was apparently not enough for the menopause and alcohol duo. They had to form a ring of fat around your tummy, right alongside areas you just didn't think could become this huge. 

While we can’t control the cause, we can manipulate the effect to a certain extent. 

Exercise and diet are the most important levers you can control your body with. 

Restricting your alcohol consumption during menopause is a heaven for your body as it gives it the rest it deserves and the space to adjust to the wide variety of changes menopause ushers in. 

Drinking Alcohol Makes Menopausal Weight Gain

Menopause Hot Flashes And Alcohol

Hot Flushes :

Menopause symptoms include hot flushes that might make you feel like a wood burning in a furnace. Alcohol is the hot poker that makes sure you feel the heat all over, from head to toe. Alcohol also adds to the menopause symptom of night sweats. 

So every pore in your body acts as an opening for a cascading waterfall of sweat.  

Exercise and altering your diet are two of the most important aspects you need to alter. Alongside them, it is also acceptable to help your body through supplements like vitamins and minerals that help relieve menopause symptoms. 

One of the best menopause supplements in the UK is Evening Primrose Oil by Eureka Supplements. It has a wide variety of benefits that may ease menopause symptoms. 

Eureka’s Evening Primrose Oil includes Vitamin E as well, which may help relieve your menopause symptoms even further. Plus they come in easy to swallow tablet form. So keeping track of your nutritional intake becomes infinitely easier. 

Menopause brings in a different phase of your life. It expects you to make the necessary alterations to help your body deal with the new reality. Changing your lifestyle and habits is a must as you grow older and hit menopause. It is of paramount importance to accept your growing intolerance of alcohol during menopause and to ease up on the bottle. Your body will thank you by making you feel better. It is a partnership after all. 

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