A woman going through menopause who drinks may be more likely to develop health issues, according to recent studies. While it is likely that a woman who drinks began well before she entered menopause, the dangers can be greater.
There is also research indicating that a woman in menopause may be more likely to develop an alcohol addiction. This can occur because drinking may be used to cope with the symptoms of menopause. If you have a loved one that is using alcohol to cope with menopause, get them quality alcohol rehab in Raleigh NC. Call Legacy Freedom!
What Is Menopause?
Menopause is when a woman’s body stops menstruating. It generally occurs between the ages of 45-55. The hormones progesterone and estrogen decrease and the ovaries stop producing eggs. In fact, by the time a woman reaches menopause, her estrogen levels will have dropped 75-90 percent.
While the average age of menopause is 51, there are cases where it begins prematurely. If a woman is a heavy drinker or smoker, or doesn’t get proper nutrition, menopause can begin earlier. Chronic stress, including stress from vigorous athletic training can also trigger it.
Menopause can cause many different symptoms, both physical and emotional. They are the result of the drop in hormone levels. They can last up to five years or even longer in some women. The physical symptoms include:
- Hot flashes
- Night sweats
- Irritability/Mood swings
- Hair Loss
- Dry Skin
- Vaginal discomfort
- Low sex drive
- Weight gain
- Concentration problems
The hormonal changes a woman experiences can also affect her emotionally because it is a significant life change. It signals the end of child bearing years, which can be part of a woman’s identity, so it can be hard to accept. It is also a reminder of getting older, so a woman may be increasingly nostalgic for her younger days.
The mood swings and irritability she may feel could cause her to feel as if she’s not in control of herself or her emotions. It can also affect her relationships and work. It can bring up past emotions or problems that weren’t as difficult before menopause.
A woman may also feel as if she is less attractive because of the discomfort the symptoms can cause. If a woman has a loss of sex drive, she may feel that it will be a lasting effect and worry about her relationship with her significant other.
Someone who already drinks regularly or uses alcohol to cope with other life stresses may turn to alcohol more frequently at the onset of menopause.
Effects of Drinking
While a woman may have drunk alcohol before menopause without issue, it could become a problem for her in this stage of life. Not only can it cause health problems, it can become a problem itself in the form of addiction.
The body becomes more sensitive to the effects of alcohol on the body. This occurs in both women and men, but is more prevalent in women. The cartilage and tendons lose water as a person gets older, so the body holds less water, which means alcohol is not diluted as much. Woman are generally smaller than men, so they absorb alcohol more quickly. A woman may drink as much alcohol as she did when she was younger, but her body begins to not be able to process it in the same way.
A lower tolerance for alcohol is not the only thing that changes during menopause. Alcohol increases the amount of calcium excreted in urine. The much needed vitamin can help prevent osteoporosis. Women are already at a higher risk of osteoporosis because of their thinner, smaller bones. Estrogen helps protect bones, but when a woman reaches menopause, her estrogen level drops, increasing the risk of bone loss.
Some women may drink in order to cope with the symptoms of menopause, but it can make them worse. Alcohol can trigger hot flashes because it increases body temperature.
Drinking can also cause additional sleeping problems and night sweats in some women.
Research from the Howard Hughes Medical Institute found a link between alcohol and an increase in the risk of the most common type of postmenopausal breast cancer. The more a woman drinks, the higher the risk. Drinking one serving of alcohol per day resulted in a 7 percent increase while drinking three servings per day meant there was a 51 percent increase in risk.
Drinking alcohol increased the risk of other types of cancer, liver disease and heart disease. Women are more susceptible than men for developing alcohol-related heart disease than men.
Women in menopause may be more vulnerable to develop depression. Alcohol itself is a depressant, so someone who drinks heavily may experience worsening depression. If someone you know is drinking too much, call Legacy Freedom. We offer affordable alcohol rehab in Raleigh NC.
A woman struggling with the symptoms of menopause who uses alcohol to cope may develop an addiction if she becomes dependent on it to get through the day. There are other ways to deal with menopause without turning to drinking.
Alternatives to Alcohol
There are other ways to deal with the physical and emotional symptoms of menopause. Someone who is unable to cope should see a doctor. There are medications and hormonal therapy options that can help ease the symptoms of menopause.
If the symptoms are mild and manageable, here are some options to consider:
Regular exercise can help with sleep issues, boost mood and may even stave off hot flashes. It also builds muscle and reduces bone loss. Walking, jogging, swimming or bicycling are all great ways to get exercise and fresh air.
Spending as little as 15 minutes a day meditating can increase focus and help relieve stress. It can also help with insomnia.
Avoid sugary, fatty and processed foods. Eat plenty of vegetables, whole grains and lean proteins. Make sure to get enough calcium, fiber and iron. Drink plenty of water and keep caffeine to a minimum. Avoid it at night so it won’t interfere with sleep. Also avoid alcohol, or at least keep it to a glass once or twice a week.
Get Some Sleep
Try to stick to a regular sleep schedule. If you have trouble falling or staying asleep, close the blinds and turn off the TV or tablet. Electronics can interfere with your body’s natural sleep rhythms.
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Are you struggling with drinking more heavily due to menopause and feel you might have a problem? Call Legacy Freedom Treatment Center in Raleigh. We offer alternative therapies you won’t find anywhere else. Our holistic approach means that we help you deal with all aspects of your addiction so that you can fully recover from your substance abuse problem. Call Legacy Freedom of Raleigh today. We offer outpatient alcohol rehab in Raleigh NC to help you with recovery from drugs or alcohol in a safe, caring environment.