enjoying a drink this summer

Do you enjoy having an alcoholic drink with friends or relaxing with a glass of wine in the evening? While there is nothing wrong with an occasional drink, it is important to understand how it impacts the body. This is especially important regarding women's hormones. 

Women have a complicated balance of hormones that are easily impacted by alcohol. If there are already concerns with your hormones, you may want to pay close attention to the information presented.

This is not a moral issue. I just want to give you knowledge, so you can make an informed decision that is right for you. Know that this is a safe space. You can talk to me about this and anything else related to your health.

Let’s look at how different hormones are impacted by alcohol.


What Are Hormones?

Hormones are chemical messengers within the body that are secreted by glands in the endocrine system. They tell the tissue and organs in the body what to do. The proper balance of hormones is crucial for your physical and mental health. 

When something happens to make one hormone increase the other hormones are affected. It's like a delicate dance with some hormones following another's lead.


Alcohol’s Impact on Hormones

Let’s take a look at some of the ways moderate alcohol impacts this system.

  • Estrogen - alcohol raises the estrogen levels in the body because it contains estrogenic compounds, increases enzymes that convert testosterone to estrogen, and makes the liver less effective in detoxing estrogen.
  • Cortisol - moderate alcohol consumption impacts sleep quality which increases cortisol which is a stress hormone.
  • Thyroid hormones - the increase in estrogen levels prevents the thyroid from releasing normal amounts of hormones, and the rise in cortisol makes the body less effective in converting the thyroid hormone T4 into T3. 
  • Testosterone - alcohol decreases testosterone levels in men by lowering the coenzyme NAD+ which is used in the production of testosterone.
  • Progesterone - estrogen and progesterone have an inverse relationship, so as estrogen increases, progesterone decreases.
  • Insulin - alcohol may increase insulin resistance and hinder the body’s ability to process sugar.


Implications for Women 

Knowledge about our body can help us make wise decisions. People's relationship with alcohol can be quite complex. How much and how often to drink is a personal decision based on your body and situation. 

For example, a woman who is already dealing with estrogen dominance may choose to be more cautious than someone who does not struggle with the issue. Signs of estrogen dominance include difficult periods, PMS, PCOS, fibroids, endometriosis, breast pain, headaches, depression, hair loss, and weight gain. 

Other women who may want to think carefully about their alcohol consumption are those who are dealing with issues of fertility. Since proper hormone balance is crucial for conception, women may wish to limit their alcohol consumption, especially during the week leading up to ovulation. 



As always, please feel free to bring your questions to me. I want to empower you with the knowledge you need to make decisions you feel good about.

Dr. Jamie