Maybe it's just me but did anyone else notice they were less able to handle even a small amount of alcohol once peri-menopause started? Maybe you are not aware that being less able to process alcohol is one of the many symptoms of peri-menopause? Some of my hangovers since about age 45 have been horrific and 2 days get wiped out!
But I love a glass of wine. A glass of red with a steak on an evening out. A glass or two of Prosecco with friends. A crisp, cold white on a summer evening or a light and refreshing rosé or Kir Royale on holiday. I rarely drink anything else, very occasionally a G&T but I have never liked beer or any other spirits. In fact I didn't really drink much at all until I was in my 30's and even then never to excess - three glasses and that's my lot!!
And as you can see from my photos, there is often a glass of wine in my hand! It's just so social!
This blog post forms part of a sponsored collaboration.
Updated, original post was published in April 2018.
When I first started noticing problems with menopause alcohol tolerance, I thought that I'd make sure I only ever had two glasses max. But then that started affecting me too. For a while I could only have one glass or none at all - or accept that I will have a sleepless night and feel pretty rough the next day.
Prosecco is lighter and has 'less' alcohol so that is better for me but one glass of red is just so nice with a steak?! I tried alcohol-free wine but I wasn't impressed. I'd like to try some low-alcohol wines but am I that bothered really?
Alcohol is after-all a totally unnecessary thing ...
So why do we drink?
For me it is mostly a social thing and a way to relax. We eat out quite a lot. Usually in good restaurants, we are minor 'foodies' so enjoy the whole experience of a good restaurant, good food and fine wine. Favourite places ... The Coach in Marlow, The Waterside Inn at Bray, The Ivy Marlow Garden.
Then there is the drink to relax - yes I know - 'wine o'clock' or 'it's Friday evening' or 'it's the weekend' or simply let's open a bottle for no reason whatsoever.
When I did The Body Coach Plan I gave it up. It was fairly easy as I wanted to lose weight and feel better. But slowly it crept back in.
The impact of alcohol on menopause symptoms
For me it is the increase in night sweats and insomnia. I simply can't sleep. I get too hot and have a very restless night. Then when I 'wake' in the morning I feel absolutely dreadful and this can have an effect for two days after especially on low mood and anxiety.
And of course weight gain - although I probably don't drink enough for it to have much effect and I do try to log the calories in Nutracheck but I can often feel much more bloated and inflamed after a few drinks and a sleepless night. My body simply can't process the alcohol any more.
And research shows I am not alone, from chatting to my friends and reading about others experience of it, it seems these mega hangovers are linked to age and hormones including our levels of hydration, stress and sleep quality.
Mariella Frostrup and Alice Smellie talk about it in their new book Cracking the Menopause.
Our oestrogen levels are sporadic during peri-menopause, they can go up and down, and our body tries to cope by getting rid of excess oestrogen through the liver, throwing in alcohol as well just adds to the chaos! And as we age, our body contains less water to dilute any alcohol as well as more fat, so we retain the alcohol for longer.
So it seems there is confirmation that alcohol will exacerbate menopause symptoms including night sweats, feeling anxious and low mood.
I have cut down considerably on my alcohol intake over the past few years, I still enjoy a glass of wine but I make sure I only have a maximum of two glasses on any one occasion, or three glasses of Prosecco. I also adopted the rule that I would not drink at home. That kind of went out the window during lockdown but I am slowly getting back into that habit, it really does make a difference.
Totiuss - change your relationship with alcohol
Totiuss is a new programme to support women who want to change their relationship with alcohol. Pronounced (toe-tee-us) Totiuss comes from the latin word meaning WHOLE and they want to empower women to feel great and take back control of their health and wellbeing by changing their relationship with alcohol.
Rather than it be the go to answer - open a bottle of wine! Do you want to say goodbye to drinking completely or do your drinking habits just need an overhaul along with your mental and physical health?
Totiuss have developed a unique 100 day alcohol free guided journey to address our increase in alcohol use. If like me you have a stressful day and reach for a bottle of wine, or feel you need some down time and a glass of rosé is part of that, Totiuss will teach us that there are other ways of getting support!
Totiuss offer a holistic approach of nutrition, fitness, mental health coaching and meditation techniques. There are so many factors that we can use to help us find a healthier, happier lifestyle.
If you are interested in finding out more, Totiuss will be launching their first programme in October 2021 and you can register here.
Alcohol Free Alternatives?
I did a little research online and found this information about lower alcohol wines (Source: Real Simple). It is useful to remember and I certainly find Prosecco is a better option for me.
Very Low (Under 12.5 Percent)
Sparkling: Italian Asti, Italian Prosecco.
White: French Vouvray and Muscadet, German Riesling, Portuguese Vinho Verde, Spanish Txacolina.
Rosé: California White Zinfandel, Portuguese rosés.
Moderately Low (12.5 to 13.5 Percent)
Sparkling: California sparkling wine, French Champagne, Spanish Cava.
White: Austrian Grüner Veltliner, Australian Riesling, French Alsace white, French Loire and Bordeaux whites, French white Burgundy, Italian Pinot Grigio, New York Riesling, New Zealand Sauvignon Blanc, Oregon Pinot Gris, South African Sauvignon Blanc, Spanish Albarino.
Rosé: French rosés, Spanish rosés.
Red: French Beaujolais and Burgundy, French Bordeaux, Italian Chianti, Spanish Rioja.
I'd love to hear from you - maybe you have a great 'wine alternative' you can recommend?
Disclaimer: this blog post was originally shared in April 2018 and has been updated to include information from Totiuss, it is part of a paid blog collaboration.
Welcome to Fifty & Fab, a lifestyle blog to inspire you. I am a blogger with a passion for writing about style, beauty, health and fitness with a focus on the over 50's. I am based in Marlow but work across London and the South East.
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Hi, I’m Michelle and my blog Fifty & Fab is all about my journey into and through my fifties. I share style tips, health and fitness inspiration, I talk about my holidays and days out and I tell you about my beauty regime and my lifestyle. I hope you might pick up a tip or two and get some inspiration!
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