Wines and Menstrual Cycles: What Every Woman Must Know

Women’s thoughts, moods, and bodies change drastically during their menstrual cycles. This is caused by their fluctuating female hormones—and they’re normal. These fluctuations are causing them to have unwanted yet, most of the time, uncontrollable cravings.

Drinking wine is one of many women’s cravings during their menstruation. When they feel rubbish, women reach out for a glass of wine to feel better from the effects of hormonal changes.

Advantages of Wine on Menstrual Cycle

A glass of red wine contains high levels of polyphenol resveratrol, a potent antioxidant. When fused with the wine’s alcohol content, resveratrol exerts smooth-muscle relaxation that can help ease menstrual cramps. Its prostaglandin-inhibitory actions can also help mitigate dysmenorrhea.

Apart from antioxidants, the alcohol in wines can also ease menstrual cramps. Menstrual cramps occur not only because of contractions in the uterus but also due to a lack of blood flow during menstruation. Further, alcohol in the wine is a blood thinner that prevents blood cells from sticking together, blood clots from forming, and arteries from being blocked. Therefore, wines alleviate and even prevent menstrual cramps by promoting blood circulation.

Disadvantages of Wine on Menstrual Cycle

Any alcohol is a diuretic. That means it increases urination and will likely cause dehydration. When women are dehydrated during their period, their cravings, fatigue, and cramps will likely become severe.

Another is that alcoholic drinks have depressant effects. If a woman has already been suffering from PMS and feeling low or moody around her period, alcohol will likely exacerbate those feelings.

Moreover, women produce estrogen and progesterone more during their period. The higher these hormones are, the lower women’s magnesium levels will be, which is normal. Low magnesium levels can result in irritability, soreness, fatigue, increased bloating, and sleep disturbances, all common symptoms of PMS.

What’s not normal is when their magnesium levels deplete even more due to drinking too much alcohol. The ethanol in alcohol is a magnesium diuretic. Put simply, the more alcohol women take, the lower their magnesium levels will be. If women are already low in magnesium during their period, they’ll just suffer more if they drink too much alcohol.

How Wine Affects Menstrual Cycle

It’s also important to be aware that drinking wine at different menstrual phases might affect a woman’s body differently. It’ll help women adjust their drinking habits throughout their cycle. A woman’s menstrual cycle is categorized into four phases:

1. Menstrual Phase (Days 1-5 or Week 1). It’s the stage where levels of estrogen (the hormone behind the period) and progesterone (the hormone essential for pregnancy) fall.

2. Follicular Phase (Days 6-14 or Week 2). It’s the stage when a menstrual period ends, and estrogen starts increasing again.

3. Ovulatory Phase (Day 14). It’s the stage right before PMS (premenstrual syndrome) begins, and estrogen is at its peak. It’s also the ideal period for intercourse if a couple is interested in conceiving.

4. Luteal Phase (Days 15-28 or Week 3-4). It’s the stage when PMS starts. Every woman experiences different PMS, which could be fatigue, higher body temperatures, mood swings, or lack of appetite.

A 2022 study discovered that women tend to reach for a glass of wine before and during ovulation. The high estrogen level during these phases can result in less “inhibitory control.” In other words, women are less likely to notice when they’ve had enough wine and stop themselves from drinking more.

Another study also found that estrogen can make alcohol drinking into an intensely rewarding feeling by sending the brain’s reward centers into overdrive. This puts women at a higher risk of binging on their period. Not only that, these estrogen-fueled effects can train your brain to want alcohol again during women’s follicular phase so they can experience the same pleasurable feeling. This might explain the sudden craving for wine once women’s estrogen starts to spike.

Alternatives to Wine

For women’s menstrual cramps, increasing water intake has always been the advice of many health professionals. Staying well-hydrated will make the uterus and abdominal muscles cramp less. Additionally, like wine, water is a blood thinner. It helps thin mucus and blood, making it easier for women’s bodies to pass it. The best part of the water is that it won’t cause hangovers.

Over-the-counter NSAIDs (non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs) are also widely used to relieve menstrual pain. For unbearable menstrual cramping, doctors tend to prescribe stronger anti-inflammatories or narcotic pain relievers. One example of this drug is the combination medication called acetaminophen-hydrocodone. It can be a bit costly but can be usually discounted with coupons that are usually given for free, like those from BuzzRx.

Final Thoughts

A boost in antioxidants through drinking wine is never a bad thing; it’s good for one’s health, after all. Moreover, if a glass of wine makes women feel better throughout their cycle, why would they deprive themselves of it? That said, moderation is key. Drinking wine in excess can still cause some problems for women.

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