Menopause presents many changes in our bodies and also raises questions in our minds. This week, I’m delighted to present a guest, Ella James who has written about drinking Alcohol during menopause.
Now, some of the points Ella raises you probably won’t like – because let’s face it, who doesn’t enjoy a vino (or drink of your choice) at the end of the day or a hectic week! However, read through and then make up your own mind – after all it is your body and your choice.
Ella previously wrote Fitness: An Active Approach for Managing Menopause which highlighted the importance of being active during the menopausal years. You can read Ella’s bio at the end and watch out for future guest posts from her.
Menopause represents a natural change that any woman goes through, sooner or later in life. Unfortunately, this transition is accompanied by a number of symptoms, which can be more or less discomforting. During this period, it is important to take really good care of yourself and avoid any unhealthy habits, which might interfere with this transition. One of the biggest risks is given by alcohol consumption, as this can have a negative impact on the liver, an organ that plays high importance when it comes to menopause. Should you give up alcohol when going through menopause? Let’s find out!
Menopause, a transition period with specific symptoms
When a woman goes through such a transition, she will experience a number of specific menopause symptoms, including a reduction in the number of periods (until they will stop altogether).
Among the most common symptoms that accompany menopause, there are: hot flushes, night sweats, difficulties sleeping, reduced sex drive, memory & concentration problems, vaginal dryness, pain or discomfort during sexual intercourse, headaches, mood changes, anxiety, heart palpitations, joint pain and stiffness, loss of muscle mass and frequent UTI.
Should you give up alcohol when going through menopause?
One of the most important things that you have to understand is that the liver is responsible for hormone detoxification. When you consume alcohol, you are basically putting too much pressure on the liver, increasing the risk for malfunctioning.
It is a known fact that alcohol has diuretic properties, leading to frequent urination and causing you become dehydrated. Moreover, it prevents essential nutrients from properly functioning, including the vitamins of the B complex, zinc, calcium and magnesium. The consumption of alcohol interferes with the conversion of essential fatty acids as well, leading in time to chronic inflammation and affecting the menopause transition in a negative manner.
Upon entering the body, alcohol will influence hormones in a direct manner, especially estrogen. It is a known fact that the liver is responsible for eliminating hormones from the body, changing both estradiol and estron into estrol. If the liver is busy processing the alcohol you have consumed, it will no longer eliminate these hormones and the symptoms of menopause are only going to get worse.
Moreover, it seems that the liver is responsible for the production of a protein, which is known as the sex hormone binding globulin. This controls not only the circulating estrogen but also testosterone levels.
In order to allow the liver to properly function and keep the amount of circulating hormones under control, you have to give up alcohol when going through menopause. This will facilitate the hormonal transition, reducing both the intensity and frequency of the experienced symptoms.
Solutions for a subtler hormonal transition
If you want to facilitate the transition, you need to consider taking menopause supplements. These are rich in vitamin B and magnesium, helping the liver to function properly and detoxify hormones, such as estrogen. You can also change your diet, so as to include more phytoestrogens, such as soya and lentils, and flaxseed; these can be used to stimulate the production of sex hormone binding globulin, which will remove excess estrogen.
You can also help the liver to produce more bile and break fats, by introducing more leafy greens, dandelions and artichokes in your diet. Onions, leeks and garlic are rich in sulphur compounds, supporting the proper functioning of the liver as well. As for cruciferous vegetables, such as broccoli, cauliflower and cabbage, these are excellent for the detoxification of the liver. Herbs, such as milk thistle can boost the overall functioning of the liver; certain herbs, such as sage, black cohosh, agnus casts and dong quay are also known to help you to through menopause (while supporting the health of the liver).
Speaking about menopause supplements, you can also give Estrovera a try. This is a menopausal supplement that contains special extract of Siberian rhubarb, which promises to reduce menopausal symptoms, such as hot flashes. However, before you take such a product, it is for the best to perform a thorough research and inform yourself on potential benefits and side-effects.
In conclusion, menopause is a difficult process to go through but there are ways you can facilitate this transition. Quitting alcohol is more than an excellent idea, as it will help you support the health of the liver and eliminate harmful hormones.
Menopause and Body Changes – What You Need to Know
MEET ELLA JAMES
Ella James is an aspiring author who is pursuing Health Services Administration degree from St. Petersburg College. She is an active contributor to Consumer Health Digest. Her interests include reading and writing about Health, Fitness, and wellness information. Get connected with her on Facebook and Twitter.