Put that booze down - it's making your PMS worse


Put that booze down - it's making your PMS worse

Unfortunately, for women wanting to take the edge off a bad day, alcohol raises the risks of PMS by up to 45%

Senior features writer

Alcohol raises the risk of pre-menstrual syndrome by 45% and by as much as 79% for heavy drinkers, an international study shows.
About one in 10 cases of premenstrual syndrome (PMS) could be associated with drinking, data on some 47,000 women in eight countries suggests.
“We estimate that 11% of the PMS cases may be associated to alcohol intake worldwide and 21% in Europe,” the authors write in the journal BMJ Open.
“Furthermore, heavy drinking may be associated with four percent of the PMS cases in the world and over nine percent in Europe.”One in five South African women (20%) drink and 14% of SA adults admit to binge-drinking five or more drinks a day, the National Income Dynamics Study 2014/15 found.
But the proportion is likely higher given that alcohol taxes indicate roughly four times more alcohol consumed than reported drunk.
Around the world, about one in three women (33%) drink alcohol, with about one in 20 of these women defined as “heavy drinkers”.These figures are roughly doubled for Europe and America, to almost 60% of women who drink and more than 12.5% who drink heavily.
“These findings are important given that the worldwide prevalence of alcohol drinking among women,” said co-author Dr Bahi Takkouche from the University of Santiago de Compostela in Spain.
PMS tends to be more severe among women who drink, prior studies have found. But they could not report whether women with PMS turned to alcohol to relieve their symptoms or whether drinking caused them.
Alcohol’s impact on the brain’s production of mood chemicals, like serotonin, and its possible alteration to sex steroid hormones during the menstrual cycle could explain the link, said the researchers, advocating further investigation.In their reproductive lives, women in the US are likely to suffer 3,000 days of “disability symptoms” and the cost is estimated at $5,000 (over R61, 000) per case per year.
Mood swings, fatigue, irritability, depression, tender breasts, cramps and food cravings are among the symptoms of PMS, whose severity varies greatly.
The most effective treatment for severe and disruptive PMS (known as premenstrual dysphoric disorder) is a class of anti-depressants.
Selective serotonin reuptake inhibitors  – whether used continuously, intermittently or at the start of symptoms – are the first-line treatment for this condition, based on an analysis of 32 scientific trials.

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