PHOENIX, Arizona. Moderate drinking is the key to good health, especially for women trying to minimize menopausal symptoms, according to a Mayo Clinic women’s health expert. Drinking alcohol during menopause can worsen symptoms and increase the risk of serious conditions like heart disease and osteoporosis, says Dr. Juliana Kling, associate director of the Mayo Clinic Women’s Health Center in Arizona.
One of the biggest problems for women during menopause is vasomotor symptoms commonly known as hot flashes and night sweats. About 80 percent of women experience hot flashes and night sweats, and 30 percent will experience severe symptoms. Hot flashes occur due to a violation of the thermoregulatory zone of the body. Dr. Kling says alcohol can make symptoms worse.
“Many women describe it as a type of warmth throughout the body that can come from the breasts,” says Dr. Kling. “This is associated with sweating and can be very annoying during the day and also when you sleep at night.”
Sleep problems are usually associated with menopause. Dr. Kling explains that alcohol can make it difficult for some people to sleep well at night.
“While many people believe that a glass of wine can make you sleepy, the reality is that it changes the quality of your sleep,” adds Dr. Kling. “This needs to be taken into account, and perhaps alcohol intake before bedtime should be reduced or eliminated.”
During menopause, the risk of certain diseases increases. These include heart disease, stroke, and osteoporosis. Alcohol can make it difficult to maintain a healthy weight, which in turn can increase your risk of certain diseases.
“Many of us don’t realize the links between alcohol and bad health outcomes, such as the risk of breast cancer, and alcohol is associated with an increased risk of breast cancer,” says Dr. Kling. “Also, it can increase the risk of conditions like colorectal cancer, which is why I recommend minimizing or avoiding alcohol.”
Data from the World Health Organization shows that rates of alcohol use among women vary around the world.
Dr. Kling recommends that women during menopause limit their alcohol consumption to one drink a day. Please note that different types of beer, wine or spirits may contain different amounts of alcohol. Dr. Kling advises measuring it to make sure you’re getting the right serving size.
In addition to limiting or eliminating alcohol, Dr. Kling also recommends exercising regularly, maintaining a healthy weight, eating a balanced diet with plenty of fruits and vegetables, and not smoking.
“These healthy lifestyle habits will give you the best results in terms of the menopausal transition,” says Dr. Kling.
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