Published On: November 26, 20201469 words7.3 min read

Alcohol and the menopause: two issues that become intertwined in the lives of many women globally. Why do so many middle-aged women grapple with alcohol and the menopause.

“Your story is going to be so personal. There are so many stories and journeys. Find out what works for you – it may not work for someone else.” 

Coach Rakale Hannah speaks up for millions of women worldwide experiencing menopause. She knows that alcohol messes with the menopause, big time. In fact, it intensifies the symptoms so much that the drinking menopausal woman becomes ill.

Embrace Your Femininity

Dedicated to helping her clients stop the alcohol during menopause, Hannah encourages all women to embrace their femininity in their middle life. They need to educate themselves about this time of their lives – and to appreciate it. 

“You are not alone, and these are not embarrassing symptoms!” she reiterates. “You are not going mad – get up close to it, value it and love it.”

Really? We must love the menopause with all of its crazy symptoms? Who wants daily headaches, mood swings, hot flushes, intensified allergies, night sweats, panic attacks and bloating? Who wants extreme fatigue, weight gain, memory lapses, incontinence, dizziness and hair loss? Why should we women past the age of 50 put up with irritability, depression, decreased libido, brittle nails, muscle tension and body odour?

The list goes on and on. But now hear this: the menopause is a natural, universally scheduled transition period that all women experience (or endure!). The best way to deal with the change of life is a) to learn as much as possible about all dimensions and dynamics of being 50 something, and b)to find the joy as we fall in love with our new selves.  Manage your menopause with good nutrition, plenty of exercise, quality sleep – and no alcohol! In fact, the course highlights the extraordinary relationship between alcohol and the menopause.  

Nutrition

Nutrition is the foundation of human health, right? Carey Davis-Munro should know. She was so sport mad in her youth that she drove her body to a complete breakdown. Eventually she collapsed from sheer exhaustion and found herself on the operating table three times. 

One doctor finally diagnosed high levels of metal in her body. This could mean Alzheimer’s disease in the long term. Then she got Endometriosis and had one ovary removed. This brought on early menopause and the rest, as they say, is history.

Davis-Munro can today boast about being the author of Eat Nourish Flourish: 12 Steps to Healthier Family Food. To get there, she had to learn many hard lessons. 

“I got a lot wrong! But I spent many years learning and getting it right,” she exclaims. 

Menopause is exacerbated by alcohol which is full of empty calories and offers zero nutritional value. Only we who stop the alcohol can see this.

Cut Out the Alcohol 

“Alcohol is a menopause no-no. Not only does it fast-track a burgeoning waistline, for some it may trigger hot flushes, worsen anxiety, and increase your risk of developing osteoporosis and cardiovascular disease,” stresses Davis-Munro. “During menopause, it can also take longer to recover from a hangover – meaning you’re more tired and less able to manage symptoms.”

Her nutrition course focuses on eating well to boost bone density, promote heart health, maintain a healthy weight and good hydration levels. Choose the right carbs without having to cut them out entirely. For example, a diet packed full of fresh fruits, vegetables, legumes, potatoes, pulses and whole grains is a diet packed full of food from the earth. 

Processed food is the wrong choice! Women who cut out alcohol often battle with the increased desire for sugar to fulfil the glucose addiction that comes with drinking. Then Munro-Davis advises her clients to go for home-cooked meals with fresh farm ingredients and plenty of fresh fruit. Steer away from the wine bottle or sweet cocktail.

Tips from A Vogel

According to A Vogel, “the hormonal changes going on throughout your body are creating a big need for extra nutrition. You need more vitamins, more minerals and a lot more protein to help keep everything in balance. And if you’re not eating well enough or simply not getting enough nutrition on a daily basis, your body is basically hungry, which can cause cravings or affect your appetite.”

Mackie Vadacchino, an A Vogel adviser, continues that this is not good for us for a number of reasons. “We know that sugar is bad for us and can contribute to heart palpitations, hot flashes and joint aches and pains, and trigger panic attacks and anxiety. And we also know that menopause is a time when we’re already struggling with our weight, so if our calorie count from sugar or sugary foods starts to rise, it can add on a whole other layer of stress as well.”

Alcohol is a sugary substitute for feeling good. It fools us into wanting more and more and it is laden with sugary kilojoules that sit on our hips and bellies. Drinking alcohol during menopause simply multiplies the above symptoms until ill-health is the result. Alcohol and the menopause can never be friends in the war against aging.

Exercise is the Next Step

Kate Sansum is a personal trainer who advocates exercise, exercise, exercise! Specialising in perimenopause and menopause, Sansum has been teaching fitness and health for 32 years. She has found her niche market in ladies who would not normally have gone to the gym. More women are asking for information regarding their midlife health and wellness.

“I wanted to find a way how I could help ladies maintain their mojo. I mean, I have kids and grandkids and I need exercise!” she laughs. 

“I had to say enough is enough, so I took a 28-day challenge and so many of my menopausal symptoms disappeared. Then I decided to go one year without alcohol.” She is now hooked on sobriety and health.

NEAT Means Fit

She advocates the NEAT way of exercising where you don’t need a treadmill or a hectic bootcamp. All you need is non-exercise activity thermogenesis (NEAT)

“It simply means any energy your body expends over and above sleeping, eating and working out. Even small activities count, so typing on a keyboard, using the hairdryer and tapping your toes to music all contribute to NEAT calories burned.”

Exercising during menopause means managing your weight (which is often a problem for women in their mid-life), boosting your mood and reducing the risks of depression and dementia. When you make time to move you also lessen the risks of heart disease, diabetes 2, cancers and other diseases. 

Strengthen those bones as you walk or do Pilates or Yoga and listen to your fitness needs. Drinking alcohol has been found to reduce the will to do exercise, to get up and go in the mornings. The real benefits of exercise boost the sober women who want to make a difference to their health and longevity. 

Get Sober and Sleep Better

Sober women know that one of the foundations for a healthy menopause is sleep. Getting enough sleep can be difficult as the body goes through so many symptoms of change. Doing good daily exercise deepens your nightly sleep. Eating healthy fruits and vegetables with less preservatives and sugars deepens your nightly sleep. And stopping the ravages of alcohol will contribute to much better-quality sleep too. The liver is involved! Did you know that your liver ensures a balanced hormone level in your body? 

According to the A Vogel website, “your liver plays a critical role when it comes to your hormones. Your liver isn’t responsible for secreting or producing your hormones – that job belongs to the numerous endocrine glands located around your body as well as organs such as you ovaries – but your liver does deal with these hormones once they have served their purpose. Once the hormones circulating in your system have accomplished their task, whether it be triggering a stress reaction or getting you ready for ovulation, they report to your liver, where they are broken down and deactivated – this prevents a hormonal imbalance from occurring.”

Poor liver function. The liver acts as a filtering system for the body, helping metabolize food and chemicals (including alcohol itself), and pulling toxins from the bloodstream. Like nearly all of the body’s organs, the liver functions according to circadian rhythms. Alcohol interferes with these circadian rhythms regulating the liver, and can contribute to compromised liver function, liver toxicity and disease. 

Journal your thoughts, make changes to your diet, get better sleep and exercise daily. But most of all, ditch the alcohol! Menopause will be a breeze.

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