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Can alcohol affect perimenopause symptoms?

A lot of women going through perimenopause and menopause can’t drink as much as they used to without paying the price.

They notice that alcohol hits them faster than before, and that hangovers are worse and it takes them longer to recover the next day. They also notice that hot flashes are worse. 

 Alcohol is notoriously bad for you during perimenopause (and menopause). Here are some of the negative side effects of alcohol.

Alcohol is a toxin that is carried to every organ and tissue in your body through the bloodstream and causes dehydration. Dehydration affects your body’s ability to heal itself and your joints leading to joint pain. It also puts extra stress on the liver during the elimination process. As soon as alcohol enters the bloodstream your body prioritizes the elimination of it, interfering with digestion and recovery processes that otherwise would be happening.

Alcohol strips your body of calcium and magnesium,  both of which you need you need plenty of during perimenopause and menopause.

Alcohol increases cortisol production, not only while you’re drinking but also later as you’re coming off the effects of intoxication. Cortisol can increase blood pressure and have an effect on cognitive function like memory, focus and attention. It also affects digestion, bone growth and wound repair.

Women tend to absorb alcohol more quickly based on their body weight and have less of the alcohol dehydrogenase (ADH) enzymes in their stomach. We can’t handle alcohol as well as men.

Alcohol interferes with sleep, specifically with the REM cycle, so you wake up feeling not rested. 

Red wine is seen as one of the most common triggers of hot flashes, but too much alcohol in general can trigger hot flashes.



Generally speaking, most women can tolerate one alcoholic beverage per day, no more than 10 drinks per week. You can have a glass of wine or a drink during the week and maybe 2 on the weekend, it’s when you have more than that where we see these side effects. At this stage in perimenopause and menopause some women notice that they can’t tolerate it at all. 


Drink in moderation and know your limit. Come up with a system to stick to your plan.

The purer the alcohol, the better, and go for higher quality wines. A lot of menopausal symptoms are made worse because of the chemicals and additives in alcoholic beverages.

The combination of sugar, artificial sweeteners and flavors, can trigger symptoms such as hot flashes and heart palpitations, plus a nasty  headache or hangover the next morning. 

Drink plenty of water, hydration is key. For every drink be sure to drink a glass of water and keep yourself hydrated throughout the day.

Don’t drink on an empty stomach, eat first, then drink. Line your stomach with some food to prevent the alcohol from travelling as fast through your system.

Don’t drink right before bed. Sure a night cap sounds good but you need your beauty sleep, your body will thank you the next morning.

You don’t have to avoid alcohol entirely, just be aware of what alcohol can do, and how your perimenopause or menopause symptoms might be worse for a couple of days.

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