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Can Wine Trigger Menopausal Symptoms?

The onset of menopause is associated with uncomfortable symptoms including hot flashes, night sweats, and insomnia. Many women reach for a glass of wine or two to relax after a hectic day. What women often ask me is why do they feel the effects of alcohol more now than they ever did in the past?

The lack of hormones during menopause can affect how you metabolize alcohol. What you don’t realize is that very thing that you feel is offering you relief, could be the reason why you’re not sleeping through the night, or you suffer from severe night sweats or both. Wine contains carbohydrates and can raise your blood sugar. Also, alcohol stimulates your appetite, which can cause you to overeat, raising your blood sugar once again.

As women (and men) age, they become more sensitive to the effects of alcohol on the body. This is because your cartilage and tendons lose water with age and cause your body to hold less water. The more water in your body, the better your body can dilute alcohol. We all should be drinking at least one-half of our body weight in ounces in water. Therefore, if you weigh 125 pounds, you should be drinking 62 ounces of water each day. In addition, if you have a glass of wine or two, you should accompany that with two glasses of water with each glass of wine to offset the diuretic effect wine has on the body.

Women absorb alcohol more quickly than men because they are usually smaller than men are and they absorb alcohol more quickly. Women also have less of a certain enzyme (ADH) in their stomach than men. As a result, their bodies cannot handle alcohol as well.

A study conducted by Mount Sinai School of Medicine, focused on the first-pass metabolism, which is when alcohol reaches the bloodstream. It then goes through the stomach where gastric alcohol dehydrogenase (ADH) isozymes break some of it down. They found that women have less of this ADH activity than men do, which means women have a lesser first-pass metabolism and, therefore, for a given dose of alcohol, their blood level is higher than it is for men. They also found that one of the enzyme's three components, glutathione-dependent formaldehyde dehydrogenase (x-ADH), is deficient in women, thus explaining their lower ADH activity levels.

The bottom line is, if you drink wine and don’t have any symptoms, at least drink the glass of water with it to stay hydrated. Try drinking organic wines with less sugar. They also have fewer effects of herbicides and pesticides. You can purchase sugar-free organic wines from Dry Farms Wines.

But if you’re suffering from severe night sweats, or insomnia, etc., the best way to know if the wine is the culprit, is to eliminate wine for a week and see if your symptoms improve. You’ll have your answer.

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