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Alcohol’s Effects on Hormones

Two people discussing alcohol's effects on hormones

Hormones help regulate bodily functions and keep everything running smoothly in your system. But do you know how alcohol affects your body’s hormonal system? When it comes to your hormones, even moderate alcohol intake has an impact. Contact Northpoint Recovery at 888.296.8976 to learn more about alcohol’s effects on hormones and your body and how alcohol rehab can help you if you’re struggling with addiction to this substance.

How Alcohol Affects Hormones

Hormones are chemicals traveling through your body that control the function of all tissues and organs. Various glands throughout the body release hormones that act on tissues in different areas. Some of these glands include:

  • Hypothalamus
  • Pituitary gland
  • Thyroid
  • Adrenal glands
  • Gonads
  • Pancreas
  • Parathyroid

Both men and women have a blend of testosterone and estrogen in their bodies, with men having more testosterone and women having more estrogen. Introducing a chemical like alcohol can impact this precise system, resulting in several reactions.

How Does Alcohol Affect Estrogen Levels?

Some studies have shown that alcohol consumption can increase estrogen levels. However, women’s bodies change significantly over time, especially concerning hormones. What you drink in your 20s will have a different impact than drinking the same thing in your 40s. Younger women who drink heavily have less of an effect on their bodies than middle-aged heavy drinkers. It takes less alcohol over time to put a woman’s body through the same impact as when she was younger due to hormonal fluctuation as she ages.

In women who have yet to go through menopause, drinking alcohol correlates with a rise in estrogen. Certain studies suggest that the onset of menopause has been delayed due to moderate alcohol consumption. Binge drinking—five or more drinks per day for women—has the most severe effect on hormones and the functioning of the rest of the body.

How Does Alcohol Affect Testosterone Levels?

Conversely, alcohol consumption tends to lower testosterone levels. Studies also suggest that the male hormone testosterone decreases inversely to alcohol consumed. Low testosterone levels in both men and women can lead to sluggishness, tiredness, irritability, lowered muscle mass, and a lack of motivation. Encouraged by the depressant effects of alcohol, heavy drinking can significantly impact testosterone levels.

Moderate drinking—two or three beers a day and no more—can cause only a slight decrease in testosterone levels. Heavy drinking has a much more significant impact on testosterone levels.

How Alcohol Affects Your Body’s Reproductive System

Several hormones heavily regulate the reproductive system in both men and women. Men’s hormones are responsible for sexual maturation, development of sperm resulting in fertility, and other impacts on sexuality. Women’s hormones are responsible for breast development, regulation of their menstrual cycles, and carrying and maintaining pregnancy.

In men, research has revealed the decrease in testosterone caused by alcohol can directly impair their fertility. Alcohol affects sperm production and impacts the development of sperm themselves, which can result in abnormal sperm structure.

Women who are heavy drinkers and have yet to go through menopause are at risk for several reproductive disorders. Alcohol can lead to a lack of menstruation, menstrual cycles with no ovulation, early menopause, and the risk of a spontaneous abortion when pregnant. When drinking heavily, the impact of alcohol on their hormones can lead to numerous complications for the developing child. Women seeking hormone replacement therapy (HRT) to conceive are at a particular risk. Certain studies show an increased risk of developing breast cancer in women who drink while on HRT.

Find Alcohol Rehab in Idaho at Northpoint Recovery

If you take anything away from this, realize that binge drinking and heavy alcohol use significantly impact your hormonal system. If you cannot stop drinking when you try to limit yourself, you may have a drinking problem. Ordinary people can reduce drinking with little trouble when presented with a valid reason. If you continue binge drinking, you may need assistance. Alcohol addiction treatment may be a path you choose to take. Contact Northpoint Recovery at 888.296.8976 to learn more about how our alcohol rehab can help you deal with alcohol’s effects on hormones and the rest of your body.