Do We Need to Bid Farewell to Alcohol?
"Wine is good for us". "Alcohol is bad for us". I don’t know about you, but I get confused. Which is it? And do we really have to bid farewell to a little vino at dinner, or bubbly on special occasions?
Truth be told, I’m not a big drinker. Never have been. I’ll have an occasional drink socially, but for me, hangovers triggered by such little alcohol was never worth it. That said, I do enjoy a drink socially. So, I’m curious to know how alcohol affects the body, and specifically, endometriosis.
What alcohol does to your body
Raises estrogen levels
Alcohol raises estrogen levels. Naturally, estrogen thickens the lining of the uterus during the menstrual cycle. So, raising your estrogen levels is not especially desirable for women at risk for or living with endometriosis.
Weakens the digestive system
Alcohol can also disrupt your gut health, which is the foundation of your body’s overall health. It can not only throw off the balance of your microbiome (the necessary bacteria living in your gut), but it can also weaken the lining of the intestinal wall. This is a far greater deal that we often acknowledge – especially when living with an autoimmune disease (according to some sources endometriosis is considered an autoimmune, but not widely recognized as such).
When the lining of the small intestines is compromised, you may experience intestinal impermeability or "leaky gut". This basically means that undigested food particles are escaping the digestive tract, and can create inflammation and trigger an autoimmune response.
Increases insulin resistance
Insulin resistance means that while you may have normal blood sugar levels, your pancreas has to produce more insulin than normal to “talk” to the cells. This is problematic because this process creates inflammation, and our overall goal is to reduce inflammation in the body.
What’s a thirsty girl to do?
Maybe you start with the classic move of alternating an alcoholic beverage with a glass of water, or enjoying a less concentrated drink such as a wine spritzer.
If you choose to keep alcohol in your “diet,” some other good rules to follow are:
- Don’t exceed more than 2 drinks in one sitting
- Don’t exceed more than 4 glasses per week
- Avoid sugary drinks – margaritas, mixed drinks, etc.
My advice: Experiment
As always, pay attention to the results. Perhaps you experiment with going alcohol free for 30 days. Start to notice how you feel during that time, and if it changes your next period in any way.
Do you know what your endometriosis phenotype is?