Last updated May 3, 2018 at 9:54 am
Research reveals women don’t have proper coping mechanism for PMS.
Alcohol intake may be linked to risk of premenstrual syndrome (PMS), a systemic review of published research suggests.
The researchers estimate that one in 10 cases might be linked to alcohol intake.
What’s not clear is whether alcohol increases the risk of severe PMS or whether women drink to cope with symptoms.
If you suffer from PMS or premenstrual dysphoric disorder – PMDD, the more serious form – you may know there is very little relief.
The syndrome can cause mood swings, tender breasts, food craving, fatigue, irritability, and depression, all of which can vary in severity.
Women are likely to experience 3,000 days of disabling symptoms during their reproductive lives. In the US alone, moderate cases are experienced by 20-40 per cent of women.
Yet, the researchers suggest there are some plausible biological explanations for the association with alcohol. It might boost PMS risk by altering levels of the sex steroid hormones and gonadotropin during the menstrual cycle, and/or it might interfere with the production of key ‘mood’ chemicals in the brain, such as serotonin.
Strength in numbers
This type of pooled analysis of data generally gives researchers more statistical power. In this study, they pooled together 19 studies form eight countries, which gave them data from more than 47,000 participants.
The researchers who performed this pooled analysis suggested that alcohol intake was associated with a moderate increase in the risk of PMS, and had an even higher risk for heavy drinkers.
They also emphasise the possible meaning of their findings given the global prevalence for drinking among women (28.9 per cent), and 5.7 per cent of female drinkers classified as heavy drinkers. The numbers in Europe and America are higher, almost 60 per cent and over 12.5 per cent, respectively.
“Based on the figures above and on our results, we estimate that 11 per cent of the PMS cases may be associated to alcohol intake worldwide and 21 per cent in Europe,” write the researchers. “Furthermore, heavy drinking may be associated with 4 per cent of the PMS cases in the world and over 9 per cent in Europe.”
The contributing nature of alcohol intake requires further study, especially as the researchers’ estimates don’t extend to the other 89 per cent of PMS cases.
Whilst the results may not reveal an answer for PMS, it’s clear that further studies are needed to understand PMS and assist the millions of sufferers.
The research is published in The BMJ.