Is Alcohol Consumption Associated With Risk of Early Menopause?

Am J Epidemiol. 2021 Dec 1;190(12):2612-2617. doi: 10.1093/aje/kwab182.


Earlier age at menopause is associated with increased long-term health risks. Moderate alcohol intake has been suggested to delay menopause onset, but it is unknown whether alcohol subtypes are associated with early menopause onset at age 45 years. Therefore, we aimed to evaluate risk of early natural menopause among 107,817 members of the Nurses' Health Study II who were followed from 1989 to 2011. Alcohol consumption overall and by subtypes, including beer, red wine, white wine, and liquor, was assessed throughout follow-up. We estimated hazard ratios in multivariable models that were adjusted for age, body mass index, parity, smoking, and other potential confounders. Women who reported moderate current alcohol consumption had lower risks of early menopause than did nondrinkers. Those who reported consuming 10.0-14.9 g/day had a lower risk of early menopause than did nondrinkers (hazard ratio = 0.81, 95% confidence interval: 0.68, 0.97). Among specific beverages, evidence of lower early menopause risk was confined to consumption of white wine and potentially red wine and liquor, but not to beer. Data from this large prospective study suggest a weak association of moderate alcohol intake with lower risk of early menopause, which was most pronounced for consumption of white and red wine and liquor. High consumption was not related to lower risk of early menopause.

Keywords: alcohol; early menopause; endocrine system; wine.

Publication types

  • Research Support, N.I.H., Extramural
  • Research Support, N.I.H., Intramural

MeSH terms

  • Adult
  • Age Factors
  • Alcohol Drinking / epidemiology*
  • Alcoholic Beverages / statistics & numerical data*
  • Body Mass Index
  • Cigarette Smoking / epidemiology
  • Female
  • Humans
  • Menopause / physiology*
  • Middle Aged
  • Prospective Studies
  • Risk Factors