Quitting or reducing alcohol can make a huge difference to symptoms of hormone imbalance. But it’s often a change that’s met with a lot of resistance!
This week we chatted to Archana Patel (@archanapatelhealthcoach), a health, nutrition and alcohol-reduction coach. Archana helps women to quit alcohol and change their habits so they become their most energised, well-nourished and confident selves. You can find out more about Archana’s coaching services at www.archanapatel.co.uk.
We were fascinated to find out why Archana quit alcohol in the first place, how it helps her clients to feel their best, and finally, how it helped her to fall pregnant so easily in her 40s.
“My story is one of retrospective learning and also one of preventative health. And it’s also a story of giving up alcohol – so often the elephant in the room when it comes to making positive changes to your health.
Time and time again, I see women willing to try anything to improve their health – nutrition, exercise, meditation, journaling, medication. But removing (or even reducing) alcohol is simply a no-go!”
Why I cut out alcohol
“Back in 2017, I was having some minor health issues – mainly a pain in my stomach which no medical tests could diagnose. I was told to forget about it and simply get on with life. But I felt that just wasn’t good enough.
I already ate well and exercised often, so I wondered if cutting down on drinking could help. I wasn’t an alcoholic and I didn’t have an addiction. But I was a habitual drinker – drinking, as most of us in the UK do, to celebrate, commiserate and everything in between. A ‘middle-lane’ drinker, if you like. It was definitely a reluctant decision as I loved the way alcohol made me feel.
I found it difficult to start with – mainly due to social pressure – but was determined to keep going. Things that I found helpful in the early days were creating some good mocktail recipes, arranging to meet friends for a walk or a cup of tea rather than always falling back on ‘meeting for a drink’ and using 1 tablespoon or MCT oil if I ever felt a craving for a glass of wine.
As I started drinking less and less I was blown away with the changes. Not only did my stomach pain disappear, I began to feel brighter, have more energy, better sleep, more clarity of thought, more confidence… the list goes on.
Perhaps the biggest win of all – despite being in my forties, I fell pregnant straight away with my third child. Whereas it had taken me months and months to do so with the others in my early/mid-thirties. I now know, this is most likely due to my hormone health being at its optimal levels. Alcohol, after all, is known to affect ovulation quality.”
Helping other women to cut alcohol
“I was so impressed with the benefits I was seeing as a result of cutting out alcohol, I wanted to help other women to do the same. I was already working as a health and nutrition coach, so it made absolute sense for me to help other women with reducing their alcohol intake too. Eventually I qualified as an alcohol-cessation coach.
I love helping other women to make positive changes and to start to reduce their alcohol intake – the changes are amazing. It’s not only the lack of horrible hangovers and feelings of tiredness, you give yourself the best chance of being consistent and positive with everything else.”
How quitting alcohol helped my hormone health
“The more women I coach, the more I can see how removing alcohol can really can be the key to managing hormone health in particular – whether it’s PMS, hot flushes or heavy and painful periods it can really help. When your hormones are happy everything feels better!
Now I’m entering perimenopause I can really see the benefits of quitting alcohol. As I recently learned on the FUTURE WOMAN+ training course, eliminating alcohol is one of the single most effective changes you can make to reduce symptoms in perimenopause.
That’s because oestrogen can surge higher in perimenopause than at any other time in your life – so making sure you’re detoxifying the excess oestrogen is so important. And alcohol can impede that process. It also interferes with sleep (which can go haywire in perimenopause), can cause weight gain (another challenge I see women struggling with in perimenopause) and can also worsen histamine symptoms like itchy skin and hot flushes.”
Testing my hormones with FUTURE WOMAN
“As I entered the perimenopausal stage of life, I wasn’t getting symptoms but I was still keen to know exactly what was happening with my hormones and at what stage of perimenopause I might be in. So I took the Advanced Hormone Test with FUTURE WOMAN. Knowledge is power after all and what can be more powerful than having knowledge of what’s going on in your body.
The results blew me away. Not only how extensive they were but the fact that things were flagged up that I would never have known about otherwise. In particular, that my adrenal glands and cortisol levels (all connected to stress) needed some extra support. And this in turn might give my progesterone a bit of a boost, which is typically the first hormone women start to lose since ovulation becomes less and less frequent.
I didn’t think I was a stressed person but as a busy, working mum of three, of course there is an inevitable underlying level of stress! And to have this pointed out and be able to start supporting myself, through recommendations like morning and evening breath work and taking a high quality adrenal complex, and supporting sleep is only going to ensure things get better, not worse!
I also found out I was likely in the very early stages of perimenopause, when progesterone levels can drop but oestrogen remains normal (or can in fact surge higher). I found it was really helpful to know where I was at, and what I can expect in the next decade or so.”
My DHEA levels (produced by the adrenal glands) needed some love, likely as a result of stress.
My progesterone levels indicated that I am likely in the early stages of perimenopause.
“Stopping drinking has helped me to live the past few years in great health – I have plenty of energy, hardly any hormonal symptoms, I feel fit, strong, confident and capable. Had I done it sooner, I probably could have avoided many years of painful periods and irritating symptoms!
If you’re thinking about reducing or quitting your alcohol consumption, let this be your sign. You’ll be amazed at the positive changes that can happen.”