The holidays and a glass of wine or hot cup of cider go hand-in-hand for many women. Family celebrations are often a time of just that – celebration – and the opportunity to indulge in a few drinks presents itself over and over again throughout Thanksgiving, Christmas, Hanukah, New Year’s Day and the days in between. For a woman living with the symptoms of fibroids, this time of relaxation and time away from the daily responsibilities of career and caring for a family can be something to really look forward to. However, indulging a few drinks can actually make fibroid symptoms like pelvic pain and bleeding worse.
Most women will have at least one fibroid at some point in their lives. Fibroids generally aren’t problematic until they cause symptoms. Experiencing the symptoms of fibroids including bloating, pelvic pain, bleeding between periods and heavy bleeding can really impact quality of life. Luckily, there are diet and lifestyle changes that you can try to reduce fibroid symptoms. Cutting out alcohol is one change that many doctors recommend.
Alcohol and Fibroids
So how are alcohol and fibroids related? Indulging in your favorite drink might improve your mood, but it also increases levels of a hormone called estradiol. Estradiol is a type of estrogen that can lead to fibroid growth. Some fibroid diets recommend avoiding all foods and drinks with estrogen.
Many women don’t know that the liver is the organ that processes estrogen. If your liver isn’t in proper working order it may not be able to metabolize estrogen, causing estrogen to increase, encouraging fibroid growth.
Alcohol consumption is linked to lower levels of iron absorption. If you have heavy bleeding from fibroids, you may already suffer from anemia. Drinking alcohol can compound your anemia symptoms leading to increased fatigue.
Excess intake of alcohol can lead to weight gain. When you gain weight, the estrogen in the excess fat tissue can lead to developing fibroids. Several recent studies have shown that there is a clear link between obesity and fibroid symptoms.
Magnesium is correlated with muscle cramping – just like the kind of cramping you get during your period. Alcohol can deplete levels of magnesium, leading to more intense period cramps and increased pelvic pain.
If alcoholic drinks are an absolute must for you over the holidays, keep your drinking to a minimum to reduce the risk of increased fibroid symptoms after the holidays. You may find it helpful to set a limit before an event. For example, if you know Aunt Barb will be making your favorite cider, tell yourself you will only have one cup and savor every sip.