How I accidentally gave up alcohol …

I’ve recently discovered a very disturbing symptom of this peri-menopause malarkey that nobody warned me about. I knew about the hot flushes, the night sweats, the aching joints, the anxiety, the brain fog etc, but at no point did it ever occur to me (or did I ever read anywhere) that my liver would begin to sympathise with my dipping oestrogen and declare that it too needed a bit of a break! In short, it didn’t seem able to deal with alcohol. Come on Liver! Seriously?!

Let me be very clear about this, whilst I’ve always been a bit of a lightweight when it comes to heavy drinking I’ve never had any sort of moral objection to alcohol. I have many friends (and colleagues) who can vouch for the fact that I’m happy to imbibe a glass or two of sauvignon blanc when the occasion demands; Friday being an occasion, and Saturday, and if I happen to be in a pub, or restaurant, or stressed, or on holiday, at a barbeque or a wedding, and to be fair funerals too (although not in the actual service) … and anyway, the point is that I am absolutely not teetotal. Or at least I wasn’t.

A couple of months ago I woke up with a hangover entirely disproportionate to the amount of alcohol I’d drunk the previous night. Two glasses of wine in an evening are not meant to render you incapable of rational thought the following morning! Naturally I didn’t feel like a drink for a while afterwards but the next time I did have one I had the same experience again. Following that, every time I thought about having a drink, even after a particularly stressful day at work, my brain would react with a little “eugh”.

What do you mean ‘eugh’? I would argue. I like wine, I like how it tastes, I like how it soothes me after a manic day, I like how 3 glasses of it make me the funniest person in a room*. But no, I’d get to the bar and my mutinous brain would force my mouth to say “just a glass of sparkling mineral water please”.

Three wine glasses containing white wine

Photo by Matthieu Joannon on Unsplash

And so it appears that I’ve inadvertently given up alcohol. There are up sides of course, my usual bottle of wine costs £5 whereas my favourite bottle of fizzy water costs 67p. I’ve eliminated an awful lot of calories. I’ve also eliminated the entire need for the “who’s turn is it to drive?” conversation which puts my husband in a very cheery mood.

I do feel a teeny bit of a fraud though. You’ll have noticed that the name of this blog is Midlife and Mojitos, so named because a) I’m midlife, and b) I previously enjoyed the occasional mojito. Midlife and non-alcoholic Mojitos doesn’t exactly roll off the tongue in quite the same way. I could use Midlife and Mocktails but really? Would you honestly subscribe to that?! I’m just going to have to hope that this is a temporary aberration and normal (bar) service will be resumed at some point!

I’ve read of people choosing to give up alcohol because it makes their hot flushes and night sweats worse, but have any of you found you suffer with a crippling headache? Has anybody else given up alcohol because of peri-menopause. Does anybody actually know why this happens?!?! Please comment with any of your own experiences of this.

*Refuted by husband every time despite all evidence to the contrary.


  1. Erica
    July 24, 2019 / 12:26 am

    Hi There,
    I came across your blog post while searching for similar experiences to my own.
    I’m 44 and for the past year and a half, my ability to drink alcohol has rapidly disappeared. Even though I can still have a drink or two and enjoy a slight buzz, I suffer afterwards. For 1-3 days after drinking only one or two drinks- typically wine- I suffer extreme emotional imbalance: mood swings, anxiety and panic, sadness, hopelessness. You get the idea. If I don’t drink for a month or even six, then I am complete fine, happy and balanced during that time.
    I have found very few references to this perimenopause symptom- but I know that it’s real and affecting me.
    I hope this helps! I’d love to know if more people reached out to you with similar tales.
    Thank you,

  2. Isabel McLennan
    October 7, 2020 / 1:58 am

    I have been struggling massively with an increasingly aggressive burning rash on my face and sores all over my body – each flare up is worse than the last and extremely difficult to control. My only assumption now is to eliminate alcohol (which is Guinness, no wine) and pray this allows my body to settle. I hadn’t realised alcohol produces oestrogens and is also, like wine, particularly high in histamine as well. So, I’ve decided that Guinness has to go. Maybe my liver is telling me it’s not coping and I’m putting on weight as well which is not good.

  3. December 13, 2020 / 11:40 am

    Pretty nice post. I just stumbled upon your weblog and wished to say that I’ve really enjoyed browsing your blog posts. In any case I will be subscribing to your feed and I hope you write again soon!

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