“For women around the time of menopause,
alcohol intake can exacerbate hot flushes
and add to the risk of excess weight gain”.1

Umbrella
What may the Alcohol and Menopause Umbrella include?

Depending on the Source (DotS) this Umbrella may include:

  • Alcohol
  • Booze
  • Drug
  • Grog
  • Liquor
  • Menopause

Alcohol

What is alcohol?

DotS the definition of alcohol may vary. The (United States) Centers for Disease Control and Prevention’s (CDC) definition is:

“Ethyl alcohol, or ethanol, is an intoxicating ingredient found in beer, wine, and liquor. Alcohol is produced by the fermentation of yeast, sugars, and starches”.2

Benefits and Risks

Is alcohol good for you or not?

In Alcohol: Weighing Risks and Potential Benefits the (United States) Mayo Clinic explain:

“Understanding the risks and any possible health benefits of alcohol often seems confusing; that’s understandable, because the evidence for moderate alcohol use in healthy adults isn’t certain”.3

Menopause

Can alcohol impact menopause?

In Looking After Yourself: Alcohol the (Australian) Jean Hailes for Women’s Health (JH) explain:

Alcohol and Menopause

“Drinking too much alcohol can impact menopause by:

  • Contributing to unwanted weight gain
  • Interfering with sleep
  • Causing changes in your mood which may affect your relationships
  • Triggering hot flushes and night sweats

In the long term, heavy drinking can also lead to an increased risk for developing some cancers, depression, cardiovascular disease, diabetes and poor bone health”.4

Cancer

Is there an association between alcohol and cancer?

In Alcohol and Cancer: Alcohol and Cancer (United Kingdom) Drinkaware.co.uk note:

“Drinking alcohol has been identified as something that can cause seven types of cancer:

  • Breast cancer
  • Bowel cancer
  • Mouth cancer
  • Food pipe (oesophageal) cancer
  • Upper throat (pharyngeal) cancer
  • Voice box (laryngeal) cancer
  • Liver cancer

Heavy drinking can also cause cirrhosis of the liver (where damage to the liver causes scar tissues to build up) which can then lead to cancer”.5

Alcohol + Smoking

Is there an association between alcohol + smoking and a greater risk of cancer?

In Alcohol and Cancer: Drinking and Smoking Combined Lead To A Greater Risk of Some Cancers Drinkaware.co.uk explain:

“If you drink alcohol and you’re a smoker too, this increases your risk of developing throat, mouth, food pipe and bowel cancers, more than doing either on their own.

People who use both alcohol and tobacco have a five-fold increased risk of developing cancers of the mouth, throat, voice box and food pipe compared to people who use either alcohol or tobacco alone. For heavy users, the risk is up to 30 times higher”.6

Breast Cancer

Is there an association between alcohol and breast cancer?

The JH explain:

“Regular alcohol consumption increases a woman’s risk of developing breast cancer. This risk rises with the level of alcohol consumed, so a reduction in alcohol consumption by women who drink alcohol regularly may reduce their breast cancer risk”.7

Osteoporosis

Is there an association between alcohol and osteoporosis?

In Osteoporosis: Symptoms & Causes – Risk Factors: Lifestyle Choices the Mayo Clinic elaborate on:

“Excessive alcohol consumption. Regular consumption of more than two alcoholic drinks a day increases the risk of osteoporosis”.8

Women and Alcohol

If women choose to drink alcohol, what does moderate drinking mean?

DotS and/or DotC (Depending on the Country) this may vary. For the United States in Alcohol and Public Health: Frequently Asked Questions – Drinking Patterns: What Does Moderate Drinking Mean? the CDC explain:

“According to the Dietary Guidelines for Americans, adults of legal drinking age can choose not to drink, or to drink in moderation by limiting intake to 2 drinks or less in a day for men and 1 drink or less in a day for women, when alcohol is consumed. Drinking less is better for health than drinking more”.9

For the United Kingdom in UK Low Risk Drinking Guidelines: Weekly Guidelines the Drinkaware.co.uk elaborate on:

“The Chief Medical Officers’ guideline for both men and women are:

  • To keep health risks from alcohol to a low level it’s safest not to drink more than 14 units a week on a regular basis
  • If you regularly drink as much as 14 units per week, it’s best to spread your drinking over three or more days. If you have one or two heavy drinking episodes a week, you increase your risk of death from long-term illness and from accidents and injuries
  • The risk of developing a range of health problems (including cancers of the mouth, throat and breast) increases the more you drink on a regular basis
  • If you wish to cut down the amount you drink, a good way to help achieve this is to have several drink-free days every week”.10

The JH note:

“The Australian National Health and Medical Research Council (NHMRC) guideline for reducing health risks associated with drinking alcohol defines ‘low risk’ alcohol consumption for healthy women as no more than two standard drinks on any day with regular alcohol free days.

This ‘low risk’ level of alcohol consumption in conjunction with a healthy lifestyle does not appear to be associated with long-term illness”.11

High Risk Drinking

What is high risk drinking?

According to the JH:

“High risk alcohol consumption is best defined as anything that exceeds the consumption of more than two standard drinks per day. High risk drinking, including binge drinking (consumption of excess alcohol over a short space of time) can put your health at serious risk.

Having more than four standard drinks on a single occasion (even if you only do it once or twice per week) may cause health problems, increase risk of injury and accidents and affect relationships with those close to you”.12

Health Care Provider

What if I would like to drink, drink less or stop drinking?

If you would like to drink,  drink less or stop drinking, it may be in your best interest to choose to talk to your health care provider about this.

In Alcohol: Weighing Risks and Potential Benefit – Deciding About Drinking the Mayo Clinic note:

“If you don’t drink alcohol, don’t start because of potential health benefits. However, if you drink a light to moderate amount and you’re healthy, you can probably continue as long as you drink responsibly. Be sure to check with your doctor about what’s right for your health and safety”.13

The JH explain:

“If alcohol is affecting your health and you are having trouble stopping drinking, talk to your doctor and seek expert help”.14

Health Topics A-Z

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In Health Topics A-Z you may find:

Links

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Sources

Where may I find the Sources quoted?

You may find the Sources quoted at:

Sources

  1. Alcohol: Alcohol & Menopause. Last Updated: 15 January 2020 | Last Reviewed: 17 February 2014. Jean Hailes for Women’s Health https://jeanhailes.org.au/health-a-z/healthy-living/alcohol Accessed: 11 November 2022
  2. Alcohol and Public Health: Frequently Asked Questions – About Alcohol: What Is Alcohol? Page Last Reviewed: 19 April 2022. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention https://www.cdc.gov/alcohol/faqs.htm#top Accessed: 11 November 2022
  3. Alcohol: Weighing Risks and Potential Benefits. 11 December 2021. Mayo Clinic https://www.mayoclinic.org/healthy-lifestyle/nutrition-and-healthy-eating/in-depth/alcohol/art-20044551 Accessed: 11 November 2022
  4. Looking After Yourself: Alcohol. Last Updated: 03 October 2022 | Last Reviewed: 19 August 2022. Jean Hailes for Women’s Health https://www.jeanhailes.org.au/health-a-z/menopause/looking-after-yourself#alcohol Accessed: 11 November 2022
  5. Alcohol and Cancer: Alcohol and Cancer. Last Reviewed: 27 January 2022. Drinkaware.co.uk https://www.drinkaware.co.uk/check-the-facts/health-effects-of-alcohol/effects-on-the-body/alcohol-and-cancer Accessed: 11 November 2022
  6. Alcohol and Cancer: Drinking and Smoking Combined Lead To A Greater Risk of Some Cancers. Last Reviewed: 27 January 2022. Drinkaware.co.uk https://www.drinkaware.co.uk/check-the-facts/health-effects-of-alcohol/effects-on-the-body/alcohol-and-cancer Accessed: 11 November 2022
  7. Alcohol: Alcohol & Breast Cancer. Last Updated: 15 January 2020 | Last Reviewed: 17 February 2014. Jean Hailes for Women’s Health https://jeanhailes.org.au/health-a-z/healthy-living/alcohol Accessed: 11 November 2022
  8. Osteoporosis: Symptoms & Causes – Risk Factors: Lifestyle Choices. 21 August 2021. Mayo Clinic https://www.mayoclinic.org/diseases-conditions/osteoporosis/symptoms-causes/syc-20351968 Accessed: 11 November 2022
  9. Alcohol and Public Health: Frequently Asked Questions – Drinking Patterns: What Does Moderate Drinking Mean? Page Last Reviewed: 19 April 2022. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention https://www.cdc.gov/alcohol/faqs.htm#top Accessed: 11 November 2022
  10. UK Low Risk Drinking Guidelines: Weekly Guidelines. Last Reviewed: 30 June 2022. Drinkaware.co.uk https://www.drinkaware.co.uk/facts/alcoholic-drinks-and-units/low-risk-drinking-guidelines Accessed: 11 November 2022
  11. Alcohol: Alcohol: Alcohol & Your Health – Low Risk Drinking. Last Updated: 15 January 2020 | Last Reviewed: 17 February 2014. Jean Hailes for Women’s Health https://jeanhailes.org.au/health-a-z/healthy-living/alcohol Accessed: 11 November 2022
  12. Alcohol: Alcohol: Alcohol & Your Health – High Risk Drinking. Last Updated: 15 January 2020 | Last Reviewed: 17 February 2014. Jean Hailes for Women’s Health https://jeanhailes.org.au/health-a-z/healthy-living/alcohol Accessed: 11 November 2022
  13. Alcohol: Weighing Risks and Potential Benefits – Deciding About Drinking. 11 December 2021. Mayo Clinic https://www.mayoclinic.org/healthy-lifestyle/nutrition-and-healthy-eating/in-depth/alcohol/art-20044551 Accessed: 11 November 2022
  14. Alcohol: Alcohol & Menopause. Last Updated: 15 January 2020 | Last Reviewed: 17 February 2014. Jean Hailes for Women’s Health https://jeanhailes.org.au/health-a-z/healthy-living/alcohol Accessed: 11 November 2022
Topic Last Updated: 11 November 2022 – Topic Last Reviewed: 11 November 2022

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