Dealing with all the symptoms associated with menopause can be devastating. If you are going through the change of life, then you already know how much your life has changed. Chances are that you went from a peaceful existence to a world turned upside down, all because of menopause. Peri-menopause, which is the beginning of menopause that typically starts in the mid-forties, is a time of life when the body stops producing normal levels of estrogen. When this happens, the body reacts in a number of ways. You will begin to notice your monthly menstrual cycle changes, you become moodier, you may not sleep as well, you wake up to find your sheets and pajamas soaking wet, and then what is with the sensation of being set on fire? While there are a number of things that you can do for menopause, seeking alcohol for relief is not one of them.
Unfortunately, when it comes to all the symptoms of menopause, alcohol seeking can actually make things worse. In fact, during both peri-menopause and post-menopause, the time when you have not had a monthly period for 12 consecutive months, heavy alcohol intake can lead to long-term health problems.
Now, that does not mean you cannot enjoy a margarita with your Mexican food, red wine with your Italian food, or a good beer on the weekends with friends, we highly recommend you limit your alcohol intake to no more than one drink per day, less is best.
Menopause & Alcohol – Really a Bad Choice?
Okay, so you might be asking, “When it comes to menopause and alcohol – is it really that bad?”
What we can tell you is that drinking alcohol during menopause can actually produce peri-menopause-like symptoms simply because your hormone levels are altered. In fact, for women who drink heavily, she may ovulate less often, which means fewer menstrual cycles.
If that woman were trying to become pregnant, then obviously her chances would be greatly impaired. Another problem associated with menopause and alcohol seeking for relief of symptoms is that the alcohol will increase the risk of developing osteoporosis and/or heart disease.
Interestingly, the majority of studies conducted on alcohol involve men but more and more, experts are realizing that women share this same problem and for women in menopause, alcohol seeking can be very, dangerous.
Sadly, we see the number of mid-age women drinking alcohol on the rise. That in turn means more and more menopausal women are putting themselves at risk for problems far more serious than the original issue of menopause.
Most often, the reason women going through menopause become alcohol seeking is that they are dealing with a very difficult time in life and not getting the needed support from family and friends. Then when you add in other factors such as stress-related to work, raising children or seeing children grow and move away from home, and unfortunately, divorce, it is no wonder this has become such an epidemic problem.
In fact, new studies now show that in the past 17 years, heavy drinking among middle age or older women has more than tripled. This observation is certainly unsettling, leading more and more doctors to pay special attention to women going through menopause who may be alcohol seeking as a means of escape from the reality in which they live.
Making matters worse, not only does alcohol consumption make menopause more challenging, it can destroy the liver and kidney, and completely ruin a person’s life. Therefore, it is essential that if you are going through the change of life, you get support, if not from family and friends, then talk to your doctor about support groups where you can meet with other women your age, also facing the challenges of menopause. Remember, while you might feel at times as if you are going this alone, you are not.
Millions of other women live with menopausal symptoms every day. Your job is to find some of those women to create a support system.
For menopause and alcohol seeking, the studies point directly to family isolation. This means that while you are going through depression, not sleeping well, suffering from aches and pains, and all the other symptoms associated with the change of life, no one notices or cares enough to stand by you. In fact, many women are criticized by their own family members, hearing things like, “You’re just faking this to get attention.”
As you can imagine, this is devastating, only making the problem of family isolation worse. Therefore, it is vital to your maintenance that you understand not everyone can deal with menopausal symptoms so if you find yourself in this type of situation, find a support group, or better yet, start one on your own.
Another reason cited associated with menopause and alcohol seeking women is depression. When the body has a reduction in estrogen, all kinds of crazy things happen to include depression. Mood swings, irritation, frustration, crying spells, sleeplessness, anger, and anxiety are all connected to menopause.
Therefore, in addition to getting the proper treatment for the body, you also need to get proper treatment for the mind. In this case, your doctor may prescribe an antidepressant just to get you over the hump. However, other options include getting involved in something for you, something that will take your mind off the depression.
For example, you might join a gym, take daily walks, take up a craft or hobby, and try meditation or prayer, or any number of things. Regardless of your solution, turning to alcohol to deal with your symptoms will never be a good idea.