Is it okay to drink alcohol during your period?

Your period week has kicked off and you're having a night out or craving your favorite alcoholic beverage. Is it good to drink alcohol when you're on your period? What impact does it have on your cycle and your well-being?

What are the effects of alcohol on menstruation?

If you decide to drink alcohol during your period, do so safely and without excess. In all probability, drinking alcoholic beverages will have no serious impact on your menstrual cycle, periods or fertility. We'll see how drinking at different times in your cycle can affect your body.

According to a study published in the British Medical Journal in 2018, alcoholic beverages impact and worsen PMS - the premenstrual syndrome.

In fact, several studies show that consumption affects hormones. Alcohol directly impacts the increase in estrogen, testosterone and luteinizing hormone (LH) .

Worsening of premenstrual syndrome

Alcohol has an impact on female hormones, and therefore on the serological markers that trigger symptoms just before the onset of menstruation, as well as during it. Alcohol consumption will accentuate the overall effect:

  • menstrual cramps in the lower abdomen
  • breast tenderness and pain
  • Difficulty falling asleep and getting back to a restful sleep
  • Difficult, capricious transit
  • Headaches, migraines (cephalalgia)
  • Disturbed moods, feelings of stress, sadness or anxiety

Increased hormone levels

Alcohol affects hormone levels during the different phases of the menstrual cycle. In fact, hormonal differences have been observed:

  • An increase in androgens during the follicular phase
  • An increase in estrogen during ovulation, which is maintained throughout the second half of the cycle.

Some research evidence suggests that low and moderate alcohol consumption may delay menopause. As a reminder, hormonal effects have not been demonstrated with moderate alcohol consumption.

How does alcohol consumption affect the menstrual cycle?

Drinking alcohol regularly or in moderation can have an impact not only on your period, but also on your menstrual cycle. Here's a list of symptoms you may experience:

  • From irregular periods or amenorrhea: Increased levels of estrogen and testosterone, the hormones essential for ovulation, will lead to irregular periods or an absence of periods for several cycles.
  • Stomach ache: Alcohol-induced dehydration can aggravate menstrual cramps.
  • Cravings: The list of PMS symptoms includes increased hunger due to dehydration.
  • Fatigue during the luteal phases: Alcohol has a depressant effect, which slows down your central nervous system. Since alcohol often contains a lot of sugars, it can also cause blood sugar levels to plummet. Secondly, alcohol consumption has an effect on sleep, reducing the quality of your rest.
  • Mood changes: Alcohol during the luteal phase can accentuate feelings of highs and lows. You may feel upbeat and cheerful in the evening, or very sad and depressed or anxious.
  • Fertility: Several studies show that drinking more than 10 glasses a week could have a major impact on fertility and your chances of conceiving a baby.

Can I have a few drinks during my period?

As we've seen, alcohol has undesirable effects if consumed without moderation. However, it's perfectly possible to drink alcohol during your period if you feel like it. Bear in mind that alcohol, depending on where you are in your menstrual cycle, can have more or less undesirable effects and impact on your usual pain and symptoms. Try to plan your evenings every week according to the phases of your cycle:

  • The menstrual phase: at this time, your estrogen and progesterone levels drop.
  • The follicular phase: this is when your period ends and your estrogen levels rise again.
  • Ovulation: during this period, estrogen is at its peak. Ovulation precedes the onset of PMS.
  • The luteal phase: it's during this phase that you'll experience the famous premenstrual syndrome.

Our advice on drinking alcohol during your period!

It's possible (though not recommended) to drink alcohol during your period! The main thing is to stay well hydrated to avoid dehydration, which could worsen PMS symptoms. So here's a little advice: between each drink, drink a glass of water. Your body will thank you the next morning, and you can even apply this advice when you're not menstruating! Of course, when it comes to alcohol, moderation is always the key word.

FAQs on alcohol and your period

Why shouldn't I drink alcohol during my period?

Alcohol consumption can have an impact on hormones and therefore on the menstrual cycle. Excessive drinking can delay menstruation or cause amenorrhea - the absence of periods.

Does alcohol thin menstrual blood?

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