1 in 5 cases of PMS may be linked to drinking alcohol, study claims

One in five cases of PMS in European women may be associated with drinking, according to researchers.

The study dispels claims that alcohol can help alleviate PMS, which causes a range of physical and emotional symptoms.

They include stomach pains, mood swings, food cravings, irritability, depression, tender breasts and fatigue during the luteal phase of the menstrual cycle.

Several studies had shown there was an increased burden of PMS among women who drink, but it was not known if this was due to alcohol itself or whether women were reaching for the bottle to mitigate symptoms.

Researchers from Spain, University Hospital Southampton NHS Foundation Trust and the University of Southampton analysed all 19 available studies about alcohol and PMS.

Their research, published in the BMJ Open journal, found drinking alcohol was associated with a “moderate” increase in the risk of PMS.

Those who drink were 45% more likely to suffer symptoms than non-drinkers, they found – and for heavy drinkers, this rose to 79%.

“These findings are important given that the worldwide prevalence of alcohol drinking among women is not negligible,” the authors wrote.

Six in 10 European women drink alcohol, with 12.6% being classed as “heavy” drinkers.

The authors estimated that 21% of PMS cases may be associated to alcohol intake in Europe.

Heavy drinking may be associated with 4% of the world’s PMS cases and more than 9% in Europe, they added.

“If this association is of causal nature, eliminating heavy drinking in women would then prevent one in every 12 cases of PMS in Europe,” the authors wrote.

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