What is early menopause and is it linked to alcohol addiction?
MENOPAUSE is a condition that occurs when you miss your period due to lower hormone levels.
It usually occurs in women over the age of 45, and sometimes it can occur earlier.
This can occur naturally or be due to reasons such as surgery to remove the ovaries, genetic reasons, or cancer treatments such as chemotherapy.
If your periods stop before the age of 45, it’s classified as early menopause, also known as perimenopause, which the NHS says can have a major impact on your life, including relationships and work.
Around 13 million women in the UK are believed to be experiencing menopause, which is a natural but sometimes debilitating part of ageing.
This week police were investigating the case of missing mother-of-two Nicola Bulley, claiming the 45-year-old was struggling with early menopause.
As a result, police said Nicola had struggled with drinking problems, leading police to classify her case as a “high-risk missing persons investigation”.
However, police have been criticized for divulging those details, with former officers questioning “how it helps”.
But how are alcohol and menopause related?
Menopausal women can become particularly vulnerable to depression.
Alcohol affects the female body differently than the male body.
This is caused by women’s lower levels of dehydrogenase enzymes, the enzyme that breaks down alcohol, coupled with the female body’s higher fat/water ratio, doctors say.
In a study published in 2018, experts said women can develop drinking problems earlier in life compared to their male counterparts.
The experts said: “Stress and depression associated with menopause can trigger the onset of alcohol abuse or exacerbate established alcohol abuse.
“Alcohol abuse decreases the quality of life, and potential positive effects of moderate alcohol consumption are tiny compared to the side effects caused by alcohol abuse.”
Delamere Health experts said it’s common for people who are already moderate to heavy drinkers to become even more dependent on alcohol during the onset of menopausal symptoms.
During this time, women are more prone to depression, even if they have experienced it before.
“This is because a drop in estrogen levels leads to reduced serotonin levels and affects the pleasure receptors in the brain.
“As we know, alcohol also has a depressant effect on the central nervous system (CNS). That means if you’re already feeling down due to hormonal changes, one drink will only make things worse,” the experts said.
Fabulous menopause affairs
It is estimated that one in five of the UK population currently suffers from it.
Yet menopause is still whispered about in low tones, as if it were something to be ashamed of.
The stigma attached to transition means women have suffered in silence for centuries.
Determined to change that, The Sun is launching the Fabulous Menopause Matters campaign to give the taboo a long-awaited kick and give women the support they need.
The campaign has three goals:
- To make HRT free in England
- To get every workplace to have a menopause policy to provide support
- Breaking taboos around menopause
The campaign was endorsed by a variety of influential figures including Baroness Karren Brady CBE, celebrities Lisa Snowdon, Jane Moore, Michelle Heaton, Zoe Hardman, Saira Khan, Trisha Goddard and Dr. Louise Newson, Carolyn Harris MP, Jess Phillips MP, Caroline Nokes MP and Rachel Maclean MP.
An exclusive study commissioned by Fabulous, which surveyed 2,000 British women aged 45-65 who were or were going through the menopause, found that 49% of the women suffered from depression, while 7% had suicidal thoughts, while going through menopause.
50% of respondents said there isn’t enough support for women going through menopause, which just isn’t good enough. It’s time to change that.
What are the symptoms of menopause?
If a woman hasn’t had a period for at least 12 months, she is classified as going through the menopause.
The ovaries stop working and release eggs, with progesterone and estrogen levels fluctuating.
This has side effects, the most common are:
- mood swings
- brain fog
- hot flashes
- night sweats
- Aching joints
- Frequent urination
- Stomach cramps
- loss of libido.
If you are going through the menopause your GP can help and may offer hormone replacement therapy (HRT) which may help relieve some symptoms.
If you’re concerned about your drinking or that of someone else, contact your GP, the NHS says.
They can explain what help is available after assessing your drinking habits, from advice on medication to support groups.
Where can I get help with alcohol
There are many helpful resources and tools to help you with your drinking problems.
Drinkline – Call 0300 123 1110 (weekdays 9am to 8pm, weekends 11am to 4pm).
Alcoholics Anonymous – free support group offering a 12 week plan
Al-Anon – A group for family members or friends struggling to help a loved one
Adfam – a national charity working with families affected by drugs and alcohol
National Association for Children of Alcoholics (Nacoa – Helpline for children whose parents are addicted to alcohol – call 0800 358 3456
https://www.the-sun.com/health/7412343/what-early-menopause-linked-alcohol-addiction/ What is early menopause and is it linked to alcohol addiction?