06 Jun Happy hour: The link between alcohol and your monthly cycle
Planning to head out to a bar, party, barbecue or other destination where you’ll be imbibing in alcohol? If you’re a big Hormonology fan (and, really, why wouldn’t you be, right?), at some point you may wonder if wine, beer or spirits get you any drunker during a certain point in your monthly cycle.
And you wouldn’t be the only one asking this question.
Truth is, many researchers have spent a lot of time trying find a connection between alcohol’s inebriating effect and the menstrual cycle. (I have a thoroughly unproven theory they’re just looking for a bunch of free “research” booze. Alcohol can get pretty pricey, after all.)
However, despite their many analyses, there hasn’t yet been any evidence that conclusively shows women get any more sloshed from alcohol during a particular phase of their cycle–clearly to the researchers’ dismay because they keep saucing up female volunteers to re-confirm this.
Despite those disappointing results, there have been two findings about alcohol and your menstrual cycle you might find interesting:
1. You’re likely to guzzle more alcohol and enjoy its effects more during your premenstrual week than other weeks of your cycle, according to a 2011 study in the journal Drug and Alcohol Dependence. The researchers theorize we turn to alcohol to lessen the pain and moodiness of plunging estrogen.
2. Your decision-making skills may get more impaired by alcohol in the first half of your cycle than the second half, according to a 2012 study published in Behavioural Pharmacology–though the researchers aren’t sure why and more research needs to be done to explore it.
Tip: Thinking of drowning your premenstrual troubles during Happy Hour? Keep these facts in mind:
Plunging estrogen is making you more sensitive to aches and pains. So, that hangover that wouldn’t be so bad in high estrogen Week 2 could have you wincing in pain when a mere butterfly flaps its wings as it passes by during your Week 4.
And since alcohol is a depressant, that down mood you were trying to chase away could come back double after alcohol’s mind-numbing effects wear off. So, if you’re going to order cocktails, try to stick to a healthy limit.