PARIS - Researchers reported a link on Monday (April 23) between PMS and drinking alcohol, but could not conclude whether premenstrual suffering causes women to hit the bottle, or the other way round.
A trawl of data from 19 studies in eight countries found a "moderate association" between premenstrual syndrome (PMS) symptoms such as cramps, breast tenderness, fatigue, moodiness, and depression on the one hand, and a tipple on (in) the other.
The link was "more pronounced" with heavy drinking - equivalent to one average-sized drink per day or more - the researchers said.
This suggested drinking may be the cause, rather than the consequence, of some PMS cases, they said.
But the data "cannot strictly rule out that PMS causes women to drink in order to mitigate their symptoms," study co-author Bahi Takkouche of the University of Santiago de Compostela in Spain told AFP.
Either way, the findings "are important given that the worldwide prevalence of alcohol drinking among women is not negligible," the team wrote in the online journal BMJ Open.
The data used in the meta-analysis was taken from studies conducted in the United States, Britain, Poland, Switzerland, Turkey, South Korea, Taiwan and Australia.
PMS symptoms, which vary from woman to woman, usually last one to a few days before menstruation.
According to Britain's National Health Service, about one in 20 women suffer symptoms so severe they interrupt their lives or work.
In the United States, previous research has found, the economic cost can reach US$5,000 (S$6,600) per PMS case per year due to women staying away from work, and seeking medical pain relief.
The majority of cases are never recorded, however, as many women simply carry on as best they can.