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The relationship between alcohol consumption and menstrual cycle: a review of the literature

Abstract

Alcohol use affects men and women differently, with women being more affected by the health effects of alcohol use (NIAAA, 2011). Yet, a dearth of information investigating the alcohol use in women exists (SAMSHA, 2011). In particular, one dispositional factor hypothesized to contribute to alcohol consumption in women is the menstrual cycle. However, only 13 empirical papers have considered the menstrual cycle as related to alcohol consumption in women. These studies fall out with somewhat mixed findings suggesting that the premenstrual week is associated with increased, decreased, or no change in alcohol consumption, likely due to methodological differences in menstrual cycle determination and measures of alcohol consumption. These methodological differences and possible other contributing factors are discussed here with recommendations for future research in this area. Understanding the contribution of the menstrual cycle to alcohol consumption is one step in addressing an important women’s health concern.

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Correspondence to Haley A. Carroll.

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Carroll, H.A., Lustyk, M.K.B. & Larimer, M.E. The relationship between alcohol consumption and menstrual cycle: a review of the literature. Arch Womens Ment Health 18, 773–781 (2015). https://doi.org/10.1007/s00737-015-0568-2

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  • DOI: https://doi.org/10.1007/s00737-015-0568-2

Keywords

  • Alcohol consumption
  • Menstrual cycle
  • Women
  • Women’s health