A drink a day keeps the menopause away

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Drinking alcohol on a regular basis delays the menopause, according to research by doctors in Scotland, writes Roger Dobson.

The doctors tracked pre-menopausal women for two years and found that those who never had a drink were four times as likely to have become post- menopausal as women who had at least one drink every day.

The research, which comes in the wake of other studies showing that drinking alcohol is linked with a reduced risk of heart disease, was based on 2,000 women aged 45 to 49 from the Aberdeen area who were interviewed by doctors three years ago.

Twelve per cent of the women who said they drank at least once a day were post-menopausal, compared to 27 per cent of those who never drank.

When the doctors looked at the women two years later, they found another six per cent of drinkers had become post- menopausal, but another 25 per cent of teetotal women or women who drank only at Christmas were post- menopausal.

"What we found was quite a big difference and issues like social class and smoking did not alter the association. The conclusion we came to was that women who consumed the least alcohol were more likely to be post- menopausal," said Dr David Torgerson, research fellow at the University of York.