Risk for Premenstrual Syndrome Moderately Linked to Alcohol Consumption

A toast with alcohol
A toast with alcohol
Meta-analysis shows that alcohol intake is moderately associated with premenstrual syndrome risk.

The risk for premenstrual syndrome (PMS) is moderately associated with alcohol intake, according to a new meta-analysis published in BMJ Open.

This is the first meta-analysis that has looked at the relationship between alcohol consumption and the risk for PMS, and although a number of studies have investigated this association, results have been mixed.

A total of 19 studies from 8 different countries met the inclusion criteria, although two-thirds of these studies were conducted in US populations. The estimates from American studies for alcohol intake were also higher compared with other locations, both for any drinking group and for heavy drinking.

Alcohol intake was associated with a moderately increased risk for PMS (odds ratio [OR], 1.45; 95% CI, 1.17-1.79), and heavy drinking was associated with the greatest increase in risk (OR, 1.79; 95% CI, 1.39-2.32) and associated with a higher risk than any drinking in all subgroup estimates.

The pooled estimate of case-control studies was higher than estimates in cross-sectional studies both for any amount of alcohol intake and for heavy intake. When studies were excluded that computed standardized mean differences, the pooled estimates were higher (pooled OR, 1.51 [95% CI, 1.22-1.88] for any amount of drinking and OR, 1.90 [95% CI, 1.45-2.49] for heavy drinking).

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“The relatively large number of studies conducted and the consistency of the results across study designs and settings provide substantial epidemiological evidence that alcohol drinking may be associated with an increase in the risk for PMS,” wrote the authors. “However, non-causal explanations of the relation should be carefully evaluated.”


Fernández MdM, Saulyte J, Inskip HM, Takkouche B. Premenstrual syndrome and alcohol consumption: a systematic review and meta-analysis. BMJ Open. 2018;8:e019490.