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Is Wine Good for Perimenopause?

Alex Fulton

For many women, enjoying a glass of red wine with dinner or chatting with friends over a cocktail is a way to unwind — and for those who are in menopause, it may help them to forget about their symptoms for a while. But does alcohol do more harm than good during the menopausal transition? Is there a negative connection between menopause, perimenopause and alcohol, and could it potentially make symptoms worse?

Understanding the ways alcohol affects your body during menopause, including the impact on disease risk and specific symptoms, can help you make mindful choices about drinking during this transitional time. Here we’ll discuss the potential impacts of drinking alcohol during perimenopause and if you should consider giving up alcohol during perimenopause.

Want some quick insights regarding drinking alcohol during perimenopause or menopause? Watch our clip from Chief Medical Officer, Dr. Alyssa Dweck, below: 

Are there Benefits of Drinking Alcohol, Such as Red Wine, in Perimenopause?

If you’ve found that a glass of red wine during perimenopause hits you a little harder than it used to, you’re not alone. Alcohol tolerance decreases as we age, and it takes the body longer to break down alcohol.1 There may also be a connection between hormones and drinking alcohol in perimenopause. Alcohol also has an impact on the body’s ability to metabolize estrogen, levels of which are already fluctuating during perimenopause.2 For these reasons, you may find that your body responds differently to drinking alcohol when you’re in this transitional period.

Potential Health Issues with Drinking Alcohol and Perimenopause

Alcohol consumption, aging and hormone fluctuations are each associated with increased risk of several health conditions, some of them serious.3 When all three of these components are combined — as is the case with menopause and drinking alcohol — risk of certain conditions goes up accordingly.

“Drinking alcohol during menopause is often an 'additive'; all the conditions that menopausal women are at an increased risk for, are inevitably made worse by anything more than moderate drinking,” says Dr. Rebecca Levy-Gantt, an OBGYN in Napa, California who specializes in comprehensive women's health. These conditions can include:

Breast Cancer Risk, Perimenopause, Menopause and Alcohol

“Since one of the factors that increases the risk for breast cancer is age, and peri/menopausal women are more likely to be diagnosed with breast cancer than younger women, one of the things that consuming alcohol during menopause does is increase the risk for breast cancer,” Dr. Levy-Gantt explains.4

Menopause and Drinking Alcohol May Impact Osteoporosis

According to Dr. Levy-Gantt, heavy drinking (defined for women as consuming more than 3 drinks on any day or more than 7 drinks per week) is linked to increased risk of osteoporosis — something women transitioning through menopause are already at greater risk of developing.5 Menopause and drinking alcohol heavily has been shown to decrease bone density as well as weakens the mechanical properties of bones.Additionally, the risk of falling after drinking can potentially increase, contributing to an escalated risk for fracture.

Depression, Perimenopause and Alcohol Consumption

“Heavy drinking also increases the risk for depression, and menopausal women are also more at risk for this than younger women,” Dr. Levy-Gantt says. An estimated 20% of women experience depression at some point during menopause.7

Does Alcohol Make Perimenopause Symptoms Worse?

In addition to increasing your risk of developing certain diseases, drinking alcohol during perimenopause or menopause may also exacerbate some common symptoms. “Alcohol can be a trigger for many things that appear to be menopausal symptoms, but they are different for everyone,” Dr. Levy-Gantt explains.

You may be wondering is wine one of the best alcoholic drinks for menopause? “Alcohol, especially red wine, can trigger hot flashes, so if a woman is already prone to hot flashes, she may have an increased number of or an increased intensity of her hot flashes,” Dr. Levy-Gantt cautions.8 “Alcohol also seems to increase night sweats, especially if consumed right before bed. This has more to do with the sugar content in the alcohol than it does the effect of alcohol on hormone levels.”9 Therefore, there seems to be at least some correlation between drinking alcohol, like red wine, and perimenopause or menopause symptoms.

Should You Give Up Alcohol in Perimenopause?

If you decide the amount of alcohol you’re currently drinking isn’t right for your body at this time, there are things you can do to cut back. Here are some tips for moderating your alcohol intake during menopause.

  • Drink mindfully. Experts suggest that being conscious of how each drink is affecting your body, mind and behavior can help keep you from overdoing it.10
  • Keep track. Using an app to track your drinking habits can give you an objective and realistic understanding of how much you drink.
  • Don’t drink on an empty stomach. Hunger and thirst can cause you to drink more alcohol than you would otherwise.11 You could also consider diluting your alcohol to diminish the volume by adding seltzer or more ice to your drink. This could help minimize some of the negative impacts of perimenopause and alcohol.
  • Do a “dry” month. Research indicates people who abstain from alcohol for a month tend to drink more moderately afterwards.12
  • Know your triggers. What is it that makes you reach for a drink? Identify your drinking triggers and try to avoid them.
  • Normalize saying no. It can be awkward to abstain in some situations. Practice turning down alcohol when it’s offered and remember that it’s perfectly okay to choose a nonalcoholic beverage.

“Realize that you will have better sleep, more energy and improved health through drinking less alcohol,” Dr. Levy-Gantt advised. “Save the drinking for special occasions instead of making it a regular part of the day.” This doesn’t mean you have to give up alcohol in perimenopause, but moderation may be helpful.


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    Great to have my observations confirmed. Definitely need to avoid drinking more than one glass of wine at social events. Learning to start with something non-alcoholic because I’m so thirsty most of the time (due to allergy and other Rx meds). Then I can enjoy one glass of wine slowly. Very mindful of all this and tend toward abstinence.

    Sarah on

    I applaud this article. Most women are unaware of how much drinking alcohol affects their risk of breast cancer. Twelve years ago I had my uterus and ovaries removed and was given high doses of estrogen to make up for the sudden deficit. Yet over time, I developed a condition related to too much estrogen. Suddenly I had painful, swollen breasts, night sweats, heart palpitations, and sleep difficulties—-all the symptoms of menopause, at the age of 74!. And my beloved glass of red wine with dinner simply had to go! I have also been cutting back on the estrogen patch in an effort to balance my hormones, and that is indeed a tricky task. For one thing, it brings back massive PMS. Products like bonafide are much needed. Thank you.

    Valerie A. on

    Thank you!
    I need this email. It will help me tremendously. I have increased reactions to menopause. I am not sure I am in menopause. I haven’t had a menstrual for the past 3 months. I have horrible night sweats and with the hot long weeks of daunting heat in Southern California over the past month, I have been in H-E- double hockey sticks!!

    Yolanda Turner on

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