Tips and Strategies for Alcohol and PCOS

A lemon with grapes on a tray

Having PCOS doesn’t mean you can’t ever enjoy a drink, but there are some steps you can take to reduce the effects alcohol will have on your body.

Some tips for drinking alcohol with PCOS according to @pcosdietician :

  1. Don’t drink on an empty stomach! Alcohol is absorbed much more rapidly when your stomach is empty. This means you will feel the effects of alcohol faster. Do yourself a favor and eat something with a modest amount of fat and protein before heading out to the bars. The protein and fat are digested slowly and act as a buffer for the alcohol.
  2. Be mindful of your meds- If you have PCOS there is a good chance you are on Metformin. Metformin and alcohol don’t mix well at all. This is especially the case if you often drink a lot of alcohol or you binge drink (drink a lot in short periods). These effects include an extremely low blood sugar level, called hypoglycemia, and a condition called lactic acidosis.
  3. Stay away from the specialty cocktails or blended drinks- cocktails are sugar bombs. Once you mix alcohol with a sugary mixer, the result is a beverage that is high in sugars and carbs. Wine, beer, and distilled alcohols are also high in calories. Sugars from grapes or the carbs from grain can cause a spike in blood sugar levels when had in excess. WOMEN WITH PCO DRINKING ALCOHOL

How does Alcohol affect me if I experience PCOS?

  1. Messes Around With Insulin- Alcohol consumption, especially in excess, can reduce insulin sensitivity. Also, alcohol increases the secretion of glucagon and other hormones that raise glucose levels. This can further cause insulin levels to fluctuate.
  2. Affects Your Fertility- Research has found that heavy alcohol consumption is associated with menstrual irregularities. These irregularities include anovulation (where the ovary does not release a ripened egg) and early menopause. In addition, moderate to heavy alcohol intake has been found to increase the risk of spontaneous abortions and breast cancer. Alcohol can also make it harder for you to get pregnant.
  3. Stresses Out The Liver- The liver gets extra-busy after a few drinks. Because the liver views alcohol as a dangerous toxin and will work hard to metabolize it first. Additionally, the liver will use up built up stores of antioxidants and vitamin C to break down the alcohol, leaving you vitamin and mineral deficient.
  4. Can Lead To Estrogen Dominance- Numerous studies find that alcohol intake is indeed associated with increased estrogen levels. PCOS already causes imbalanced estrogen to progesterone ratio. So alcohol consumption further aggravates this imbalance. You may notice your PCOS symptoms are particularly worse after a night of binge-drinking.
  5.  Disrupts Appetite- Women with PCOS already have to deal with appetite fluctuations due to the increased levels of testosterone. Research believes that reduced post-meal secretions of cholecystokinin (or CCK) are to blame. CCK mediates satiety or the state of being full. Reduced CCK means you don’t get a signal that you’re full. You may find it all too easy to let PCOS drift out of your mind after a couple of drinks, making you more susceptible to poor food choices.
  6. Can Irritate Gut Lining- PCOS is associated with low-grade systemic inflammation. And this can lead to gut dysbiosis or an imbalance of good and bad bacteria in the gut. Alcohol only worsens this because it’s an irritant for the delicate lining of the intestine. This will also worsen your bloating, a common problem faced by women with PCOS.
  7. Interferes With Sleep- Alcohol interferes with a night of restful sleep. While you may feel sleepy and drowsy after a few drinks, your night will be marred with broken sleep.. And we all know that regular sleep is important for PCOS management.
  8. Worsens Triglycerides- While moderate levels of alcohol (particularly red wine) are known to be heart-friendly, alcohol can further worsen triglyceride levels. Research shows that drinking alcohol — even in small amounts — can increase triglyceride levels.

Visit to read more and find some recipes for PCOS friendly alcoholic beverages!


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