European-wide study finds alcohol consumption increases symptoms of PMS

Having a tipple to alleviate symptoms of premenstrual syndrome (PMS) may actually be making things worse, a new study suggests.

Researchers have linked drinking to a heightened risk of suffering symptoms of PMS.

Around one in five cases among European women may be associated with drinking, experts estimated.

In the US, PMS affects between 20% and 40% of women, causing a range of physical and emotional symptoms including: mood swings, tender breasts, food craving, fatigue, irritability and depression, during the luteal phase of the menstrual cycle.

A number of studies have shown an increased burden of PMS among drinkers, but it was not known whether this is due to alcohol itself or whether women were reaching for the bottle to mitigate symptoms.

Researchers from Spain, the University of Southampton and University Hospital Southampton NHS Foundation Trust, conducted an analysis on all research covering the topic of alcohol and PMS.

Their study, published in the journal BMJ Open, examined data from 19 studies.

They found that alcohol intake was associated with a “moderate” increase in the risk of PMS.

Drinkers were 45% more likely to suffer symptoms than non-drinkers. This rose to 79% for heavy drinkers.

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

In Europe six in 10 women are drinkers, with 12.6% being classed as “heavy” drinkers.

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

Furthermore, heavy drinking may be associated with 4% of the PMS cases in the world and over 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.

Copyright (c) Press Association Ltd. 2018, All Rights Reserved. Picture (c) Ian West / PA Wire.