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Menstrual Cycle Phase, Hormonal Contraception, and Alcohol Consumption in Premenopausal Females: A Systematic Review

Research output: Contribution to Journal/MagazineJournal articlepeer-review

Article number745263
<mark>Journal publication date</mark>12/10/2021
<mark>Journal</mark>Frontiers in global women's health
Number of pages12
Publication StatusPublished
<mark>Original language</mark>English


Women may be particularly vulnerable to alcohol harm, but many current theories fail to acknowledge the unique factors that influence female alcohol use. The biological mechanisms underlying female alcohol consumption have largely been unexplored, although recently the menstrual cycle has been highlighted as a potentially important factor. This systematic review, using a narrative synthesis, examined the association between the menstrual cycle phases on alcohol consumption and aimed to determine whether hormonal contraception influences this association. The review follows PRISMA and SWiM guidelines, registration number: CRD42018112744. Electronic searches were conducted in the relevant databases with keyword (e.g., “menstrua*”; “alcohol”). Thousand six hundred and sixty-two titles were identified, 16 of which were included in the review. Results were inconsistent regarding whether an association between menstrual cycle phase and alcohol consumption was found. Furthermore, there was inconsistency regarding which phase was associated with higher consumption, and different factors were reported to have moderated the direction, e.g., family history of alcohol use disorder (AUD), premenstrual syndrome (PMS). These conflicting results may be partly explained by variability in both study quality and design, and differences in measurement of cycle phase and alcohol consumption. More robust research is needed before conclusions can be drawn with regard to the role of the menstrual cycle and hormonal contraception on female drinking behavior. This review provides recommendations to strengthen research in this area.