Every once in awhile you may get the urge to come home after a long day's work and pour yourself a drink. The pressures of everyday life can sometimes be so much that you need to wind down. One thing most of us women choose to do to relax is get a glass of wine. When you are on your period, you might be wondering if drinking alcohol will affect your body even more during menstruation. Here’s what we found out.
The normal menstrual cycle is approximately 28 days, or four weeks. Day one, and week one represents the start of your period or menstruation. The majority of women have periods that last between three and seven days.
Throughout your period, estrogen and progesterone levels are at its lowest. However, at the end of menstruation, estrogen levels begin to spike for the body to form an egg, or two, or three.
During week two, while progesterone levels are still low, most of us women can relax without a period, or symptoms of PMS. Though, before week two is over the building of the uterine lining begins, and estrogen levels peak - right before ovulation - and then drop. Weeks one and two represent the first half of the menstrual cycle.
Week three, or day 14 for most, is when the ovaries release an egg, or two, or three. During week three the lining of the uterus is fully built, and the two hormone levels begin to incline.
In week four, the lining of the uterus is maintained, as the hormone levels peak. The second half of the menstrual cycle is when the uterus prepares for the ovulated egg to be fertilized. If fertilization does not take place, the hormone levels drop, the uterine lining breaks down, and your period begins.
Alcohol both directly and indirectly affects your menstrual cycle. A small amount of alcohol may only temporarily increase estrogen levels in your body, causing an irregularity in ovulation. Yet, the amount of alcohol intake would have to be drastic to alter hormones significantly. As if menstrual cramps weren’t enough, alcohol can prolong menstrual disorders such as dysmenorrhea - severe menstrual cramping.
Also, think of it like this: if you are suffering from painful menstrual cramps but have had alcohol, you will not be able to take a painkiller to relieve the cramps. These are days alcohol can directly affect your period. Too much alcohol consumption, on the other hand, also affects other organs, and can add stress to your body.
If your body is under too much stress, you can be faced with irregular cycles, including skipping months, or early menopause. This is how alcohol is indirectly affecting your menstrual cycle.
As you can see, because of the body’s natural response, especially regarding the menstrual cycle, it is essential that you maintain a healthy lifestyle.
While having one drink a day will not make any permanent impact on your menstrual cycle, more than seven drinks in a week for a woman can offset the natural hormonal dance the female body goes through. If you drink alcohol in excess, you increase your chance for irregular menstrual cycles and even early menopause.