PCOS and alcohol

Understanding PCOS

PCOS, or polycystic ovary syndrome, is an endocrine disorder that affects 1 in 10 people with ovaries in the UK. Symptoms vary from person to person, and although can happen later in life, they typically present around the time of puberty through to early 20s. Symptoms can include the following:

– Irregular periods

– Trouble getting pregnant

– Increased hair on the face or body, known as hirsutism

– Thinning or loss of hair on the head

– Acne and oily skin

Although there is no cure for PCOS, there are several treatments that can ease symptoms, and increase likelihood of conception, lifestyle changes are also key in symptom management.

If you are concerned you may have PCOS, it is important to consult with a healthcare professional for diagnosis and care.

Can I drink alcohol if I have PCOS?

A common concern if you have PCOS, may be the sugar contained within alcohol, however it really does depend on the type of alcohol. Mixed drinks, or the mixers used in drinks, sweet wine or beer do have the potential to raise insulin levels. Ensuring you’re eating a balanced meal whilst drinking and limiting the sweeter drinks described above can help to reduce this.

Other side effects to be mindful of when drinking include; changes in hunger levels and mindful food choices, and sleep disturbances. Increased alcohol consumption may also cause unwanted effects if taken with certain medications and could impact on fertility. Always seek advice from a healthcare professional for these. Learn more about drinks and PCOS.

Main takeaways

Overall, you can still enjoy an alcoholic drink if you have PCOS. However, whether you have PCOS or not, it is always advised to drink in moderation, the NHS advise no more than 14 units per week.

Our top tips when drinking include avoid drinking on an empty stomach and ideally with a balanced meal. Where possible opt for lower sugar options, avoiding sugary mixers. Finally, keep water on hand to stay hydrated.

If you’re taking medication and/or looking to conceive, always consult with a healthcare professional.

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