Can drinking too much alcohol affect my menstrual cycle?
It’s the festive season, people are gathering, friends and family are visiting and
celebration is at an all-time high!
Drinking has been engrafted into our culture for ages and has become the norm
and expectations at many gatherings and celebrations. So much so, that if one
avoids drinking, they can appear different and strange, so drinking is highly
common and some tend to believe that unless one hasn’t drunk enough to get
intoxicated that they have not had a good time. Resulting in several headaches,
hangovers, and vehicular accidents, however, the focus of this blog is to focus on
the impact that overindulgence in alcohol can cause on the woman’s reproductive
What is a Menstrual Cycle?
The menstrual cycle is a series of natural changes in hormone production and the
structures of the uterus and ovaries of the female reproductive system that makes
pregnancy possible. The ovarian cycle controls the production and release of eggs
and the cyclic release of estrogen and progesterone.
Can alcohol affect your body?
Yes, alcohol can affect your menstrual cycle (period). Stopped or irregular
menstrual bleeding after drinking alcohol is a common concern for many women.
But why does this happen?
1. Hormone Imbalance
A hormonal imbalance happens when you have too much or too little of one or
more hormones — your body’s chemical messengers. It’s a broad term that can
represent many different hormone-related conditions.
Drinking alcohol can also increase androgen levels during the follicular phase and
estrogen in the ovulation phase. This effect showed to be most apparent in
women who engaged in binge drinking. Drinking alcohol during your period can
also worsen common menstrual symptoms, including moodiness, trouble
sleeping, bloating, and cramps.
2. Worsening Cramps
Alcohol can increase the production of both estrogen and testosterone in the
body. Too much of either can exacerbate PMS symptoms, especially mood swings
and irritability. It also impacts the balance of prostaglandins, which can worsen
Alcohol is notorious for dehydrating people, especially when it’s heavily consumed
and the only thing the person has had to drink. As a result, drinking heavily can
worsen period cramps by thickening menstrual fluids and blood, making it more
difficult for them to pass through the uterus, through the cervix, and out of the
4. Heavier Period
Alcohol can also make your period heavier or cause you to bleed more during
menstruation. Since alcohol is both a blood thinner and because it increases
estrogen levels, heavy drinking may lead to a heavier period. That’s because
estrogen stimulates the growth of endometrial tissue or the lining of the uterus
that’s being shed. This means that you’ll have more to shed during a period, which
means heavier bleeding.
Keep in mind that alcohol’s effect on period cycles depends on how often and how
much of it you drink. While one alcoholic drink every once in a while, won’t affect
your period (unless you have a particular condition), heavy drinking definitely will.
Even if you consider yourself to be a social drinker, the line between casual
drinking and binging can blur if you aren’t careful.
Please contact our clinic/Gynecology office at 1767 (245-5349) for more
information about any period irregularities you may have or visit our office on
Adams Tower, Great Marlborough Street to book your consultation.