Understanding How Alcohol Affects You During Your Period
If you menstruate, it’s crucial to learn more about how alcohol can affect your period. Drinking alcohol is a common activity, but it can have disruptive impacts on your body during menstruation.
Further, there are many misconceptions about vaginal health, reproductive well-being, and menstruation. With such pervasive myths, it’s difficult to know how to best care for yourself during your cycle — which, for many people, is already a challenging and painful time.
Learning more about alcohol consumption during menstruation will empower you to make the best possible decisions for your reproductive health. Here’s what you need to know.
How Alcohol Affects the Body During Your Period
There are many ways alcohol impacts different parts of your body, including your reproductive system and health. For one, it can affect your hormone levels by increasing how much testosterone and estrogen your body produces. When you have an unbalanced amount of either hormone, irritability and mood swings may follow. The frequency, severity, and duration of your cycle may also change.
Alcohol increases your prostaglandin levels too. Prostaglandins prompt your uterine muscle to contract and you to feel severe cramps. The more alcohol you drink, the higher your levels and the worse your menstrual cramps are likely to be.
Additionally, alcohol is dehydrating. And when you’re dehydrated, your menstrual blood and fluids become thicker and harder to pass, exacerbating pain and other menstrual symptoms.
Furthermore, drinking alcohol regularly can affect your fertility. Irregular or absent ovulation can result from frequent alcohol consumption. If you can’t determine when you’re ovulating each month, it can be more difficult for you to conceive, as well as to practice safe sex.
(scroll down to read more)
Navigating Alcohol Consumption While on Your Period
Of course, your cycle is unique to you and your body. You may experience alcohol differently than others do. Try to pay attention to the specific impacts that alcohol consumption can have on you and your cycle, so you can make the best possible choices for your health.
That said, there are some things you can do to navigate alcohol consumption while being mindful of your reproductive health.
Track Your Cycle
In general, it’s a good idea to track your menstrual cycle. You can figure out when to expect your period before it hits, as well as when you’re ovulating, and prepare yourself for the symptoms to come. A period tracking app can be convenient, although there’s nothing wrong with marking down the dates of your cycle in your planner or calendar.
Minimize Social Outings
People often indulge in alcohol during social outings. It may be helpful to minimize social outings where alcohol is a central component of the experience — such as going to a nightclub or bar — so you aren’t tempted to drink any. Use this week as an opportunity to rest and reset instead.
If you do want to socialize, try to do so without alcohol. Choose events or activities where drinking alcohol isn’t the primary focus. And no matter what you decide to do, you can always opt for a non-alcoholic beverage instead.
Find Other Ways To Cope With Period Pain
Many people consume alcohol during their periods because they believe it helps relieve pain, cramps, and other PMS symptoms. But, as mentioned above, alcohol dehydrates you and actually makes these things worse.
Finding healthier ways to cope with period pain is a much better route. You can avoid alcohol and hopefully get real relief from your pain. For example, incorporating magnesium in your diet, using a heating pad, and exercising regularly can help you cope with period pain.
Drink Lots of Water
One of the best ways to maintain a healthy vagina and period is to stay hydrated.
Drinking lots of water when consuming alcohol in moderation will save you from dehydration's adverse effects on your period. You’ll cramp less and minimize pain. Hydration also helps make it easier for your kidneys to get alcohol out of your blood if you do drink.
Discuss how much water you should drink each day with your healthcare provider, so you aren’t drinking too much or too little. If you haven’t been drinking water regularly, start with a smaller amount that you can consume consistently. You can work your way up to the recommended amount.
Have Someone To Lean On
Often, all you need is a loved one to talk to during your period or while you’re dealing with PMS. Having someone to lean on can help you stay away from alcohol during this time (if that’s something that you want to do) and work through your symptoms.
Keep your best friend, mom, dad, sister, brother, cousin, or someone else you’re close to on speed dial during your period. Call them whenever you to laugh, vent, or be distracted while experiencing harsh symptoms.
Focus On Your Mental Health
Focusing on your mental health during your period is essential. Not only does your cycle already impact your mental health, but a positive mind is powerful in navigating something challenging like your period or consuming too much alcohol.
Enlisting the help of a mental health professional is the most intentional route to solid mental and emotional wellbeing. However, it isn’t the only option available or the only way to prioritize your mental health! You can also use mindfulness exercises, meditation, yoga, and other forms of self-care to nurture your mental health.
Learn how to show yourself grace during your period too. It’s okay if you want to drink while on your period. Don’t feel guilty about your choice — instead, be loving and understanding of yourself.
Ultimately, it’s not about eliminating or banning alcohol consumption during menstruation. It’s about learning more about how alcohol impacts you during your period so you can make mindful, well-informed choices and have a healthier cycle.
Want to stay tuned and read more health tips, self-care and health facts? Subscribe to our newsletter email here.
NannoPad® is a must-have for a healthier period. Super thin and absorbent, NannoPad is developed to help with your menstrual discomfort in a holistic and effective way. See reviews here. Incontinence version NannoDry® is available too!
Amanda Winstead is a writer from the Portland area with a background in communications and a passion for telling stories. Along with writing she enjoys traveling, reading, working out, and going to concerts. If you want to follow her writing journey, or even just say hi you can find her on Twitter.
NOTE: The views expressed in this article are those of the author and do not necessarily represent or reflect the views of Nannocare. Nannocare is not affiliated, associated, authorized, endorsed by, or in any way officially connected with the author of this article, or any of its subsidiaries or its affiliates.