Can Alcohol Cause Hormonal Imbalance?

Can Alcohol Cause Hormonal Imbalance
Chronic consumption of a large amount of alcohol disrupts the communication between nervous, endocrine and immune system and causes hormonal disturbances that lead to profound and serious consequences at physiological and behavioral levels.

How does alcohol affect your hormones?

Alcohol’s Effects on the HPG Axis – Numerous studies have documented alcohol’s diverse deleterious effects on the HPG axis and its hormones ( figure 2 ). The resulting HPG dysfunction observed in people with AUD can be associated with diverse outcomes, including a decreased libido, infertility, and gonadal atrophy. Alcohol’s effects on the hypothalamic–pituitary–gonadal (HPG) axis. Neurons in the hypothalamus release luteinizing hormone–releasing hormone (LHRH) to the hypophyseal-portal blood system. LHRH then stimulates the secretion of gonadotropins (i.e., LH and FSH).

  • During the ovary’s follicular phase, FSH stimulates the development of a dominant follicle, which produces and secretes estradiol.
  • Estradiol then stimulates an LH and FSH surge during midcycle of the menstrual cycle.
  • LH stimulates ovulation and the development of the corpus luteum, which then produces and secretes progesterone.

In the testis, LH stimulates testosterone production and release, while FSH controls spermatogenesis. HPG axis function is controlled through feedback loop mechanisms. Testosterone inhibits LHRH, LH, and FSH secretion through negative feedback, whereas estradiol and progesterone both can have negative- and positive-feedback actions, depending on the stage of the ovarian cycle, and can inhibit or stimulate the release of LHRH, LH, and FSH.

  1. Acute alcohol exposure results in increased LHRH, LH, FSH, and estradiol and decreased testosterone and progesterone.
  2. Chronic alcohol exposure, in contrast, induces a decrease in LHRH, LH, testosterone, and progesterone and an increase in estradiol and FSH.
  3. These alcohol-induced hormonal dysregulations cause a multitude of reproductive disorders, such as menstrual cycle irregularity, decreased fertility, and hypogonadism.

In women, alcohol use can cause a multitude of reproductive disorders, such as irregular menstrual cycles, absence of ovulation (i.e., anovulation), increased risk of spontaneous abortions, and early menopause. Alcohol intake, even as little as five drinks per week, was associated with decreased fecundability in healthy women ages 20–35 ( Jensen et al.1998 ).

Other studies ( Mendelson et al.1988 ) found that 50 percent of social (i.e., about 3.84 drinks per day) and 60 percent of heavy (i.e., about 7.81 drinks per day) healthy, nondependent drinkers exhibited significant disturbances of their reproductive hormones and menstrual cycle compared with occasional drinkers (i.e., about 1.22 drinks per day).

In addition, social drinkers had anovulatory cycles, and 3 of 5 heavy drinkers exhibited excessive levels of prolactin in the blood (i.e., hyperprolactinemia) ( Mendelson et al.1988 ). Studies have shown that alcohol intake consistently induces an increase in estradiol levels in humans ( Mendelson and Mello 1988 ; Muti et al.1998 ) and rodents ( Emanuele et al.2001 a ), possibly as a result of decreased steroid catabolism ( Sarkola et al.1999 ).

  1. These increased estradiol levels could in part explain alcohol’s negative effects on menstrual cycle regularity.
  2. Moreover, chronic alcohol has inhibitory actions on LHRH-producing neurons.
  3. Thus, exposure to 100 mM ethanol directly inhibited LHRH release from incubated medial basal hypothalamic sections, and this effect was reversed by naltrexone ( Lomniczi et al.2000 ).

These results suggest that alcohol’s effect on LHRH release involves the stimulation of BEP-releasing neurons, which prevent LHRH release by inhibiting nitric oxide synthase. Other studies have shown that long-term moderate alcohol consumption can decrease the number and quality of a woman’s oocytes (i.e., ovarian reserve), which was associated with increased FSH levels ( Li et al.2013 ).

  1. Extensive research in animals and humans also has documented the deleterious effects of alcohol on male reproductive function, including reduced testosterone levels ( figure 2 ).
  2. Acute alcohol intake decreased the circulating levels of LH and testosterone as a result of diminished release of hypothalamic LHRH ( Cicero et al.1982 ; Dees et al.1983 ; Rowe et al.1974 ).

In contrast, chronic alcohol consumption significantly increased FSH, LH, and estrogen levels but decreased testosterone and progesterone levels in men with AUD compared with men without AUD ( Muthusami and Chinnaswamy 2005 ). The AUD group also had significantly lower semen volume, sperm count, motility, and number of morphologically normal sperm ( Muthusami and Chinnaswamy 2005 ).

The activity of the enzyme aromatase, which converts androgens to estrogens, especially in the liver, is increased by ethanol ( Purohit 2000 ). This mechanism may explain why alcohol abuse results in hypogonadism even in the absence of liver disease. In men with AUD and cirrhosis, a decrease in IGF-1 bioavailability as a result of liver disease contributes at least in part to the elevated circulating levels of estradiol and estrone ( Martinez-Riera et al.1995 ) and the development of hypogonadism ( Castilla-Cortazar et al.2000 ) since IGF-1 can stimulate testosterone synthesis and spermatogenesis ( Roser 2008 ). ROS produced during alcohol metabolism may cause cell damage in the testes ( Emanuele et al.2001 b ). The testicular alcohol-inducible cytochrome P450 2E1, which is involved in the generation of ROS as well as hydroxyl ethyl free radicals, was shown to be elevated in testes of rats chronically exposed to ethanol ( Shayakhmetova et al.2013 ). The alcohol metabolite acetaldehyde can disrupt testosterone production by inhibiting protein kinase C, a key enzyme in testosterone synthesis ( Chiao and Van Thiel 1983 ). Nitric oxide, which is synthesized in the testes by nitric oxide synthase, is another proposed player in the alcohol-induced reduction of testosterone production. Inhibition of nitric oxide synthase prevents the alcohol-induced decrease in testosterone ( Adams et al.1992 ).

Does alcohol affect hormone balance?

2) Menstrual and reproductive cycle – There’s plenty of research showing that alcohol use disrupts hormones responsible for the menstrual cycle. It begins to affect menstruation for girls who drink during puberty and can alter the maturation and function of their ovaries, as it directly affects the growth hormones.

Alcohol can cause irregular menstrual cycles, worsen PMS symptoms, and lead to infertility. Even small amounts of alcohol, such as social drinking, can disrupt a normal menstrual cycle. The association with estrogen is complex, as it can sometimes stimulate or inhibit the hypothalamic-pituitary unit. This unit comprises several organs, such as the hypothalamus, pituitary, gonads, thyroid, and adrenal glands.

Alcohol often elevates these hormones and causes an imbalance leading to reproductive and liver issues, along with weight and body fat composition. However, most of these symptoms are related to heavy drinking and can be avoided with mindful drinking habits.

Does alcohol affect estrogen levels?

Alcohol, estrogen and breast cancer risk – Alcohol can change the way a woman’s body metabolizes estrogen (how estrogen works in the body). This can cause blood estrogen levels to rise. Estrogen levels are higher in women who drink alcohol than in non-drinkers, Higher estrogen levels are in turn, linked to an increased risk of breast cancer, Learn more about estrogen and breast cancer risk,

What hormone is released when you drink alcohol?

Dopamine Release – The initial euphoric effects of alcohol are a result of dopamine being released from the reward center in the brain.

Dopamine is known as the “feel good” neurotransmitter and it is involved in feeling pleasure. Dopamine release is also thought to be one of the mechanisms that drive addiction. In addition to dopamine, drinking alcohol initially releases serotonin which is another neurotransmitter involved in feeling happy and calm.

Is beer full of estrogen?

What You Need to Know –

Beer contains powerful compounds called “phytoestrogens” that mimic estrogen in the human body. In addition, many beers stimulate a hormone called prolactin–the same hormone that causes breast growth and milk production. Alcohol can also lead to weight-gain, where there’s a high association with lower T and higher estrogen.

How long does it take for your metabolism to recover after quitting alcohol?

Alcohol Addiction Experts Reveal What Happens to Your Body if You Stop Drinking Once You Make the Decision to Stop Drinking, the Changes to Your Body and Mind Are Incredible, Say the Alcohol Addiction Experts at Summit Behavioral Health UNION, NJ / ACCESSWIRE / April 8, 2017 / The decision to stop drinking alcohol can be a huge step in your life, especially if you have an addiction to it.

Most people suffering from alcoholism need professional help to stop, and it’s a tough thing to do. But once you have made the decision to abstain from drinking, you’ll see some pretty amazing things happen – not only in your mind, spirit, and relationships, but also in your body. Alcoholism takes a toll on a person’s body, but the sooner you quit drinking, the better your chances of regaining good health, says the at Summit Behavioral Health.

Below are some of the benefits you will experience when you quit drinking and the timeline they typically follow. Benefits of Abstaining from Drinking Alcohol Long-term or heavy drinking can cause serious changes to your body and your brain. Some of the risks of alcohol abuse include:

Digestive problems Increased risk of cancer Heart and cardiovascular issues Increase risk of stroke Increased risk of depression and anxiety Increased risk of liver problems, including cirrhosis Dementia and other degenerative disorders (also known as “wet brain”)

However, by quitting drinking, you can reverse many of those symptoms and reestablish good health. The following are just some of the positive outcomes you may see by abstaining from alcohol:

The body’s ability to absorb vitamins and minerals increases Metabolism is restored, leading to fat loss Energy increases Reduced risk of cancer and decreased stress levels Lower blood pressure and reduced risk of stroke and heart attack Quicker immune response Reversal of alcohol-related liver damage

Alcohol Recovery Timeline How long and how much alcohol you drank will have an effect on the timeline that you experience when you stop drinking. First, let’s take a look at the phases of alcohol withdrawal. Acute Withdrawal The first challenge you will face when you stop drinking is acute withdrawal. The symptoms will start as soon as six hours after your last drink.

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Sweating and rise in body temperature Raised blood pressure and heart rate Shaking or tremors Insomnia Anxiety

Withdrawing from alcohol isn’t something to be taken lightly. Depending on a person’s history of drinking, this stage can cause delirium tremens, seizures, and even death. If your alcoholism is severe, it’s essential that you find help in a medically-supervised detox facility.

Decrease in energy Emotions such as anger and aggression Increased anxiety and depression Insomnia or nightmares Decreased libido

This may also be the time where cravings for alcohol set in. Each person’s experience with post-acute alcohol withdrawal is different – for some it may only last a few weeks, for some it may be up to a year. Seeking help from an alcohol addiction rehab will help ease your transition into recovery and treat any underlying conditions you may have.

What is Going on in Your Body? A Timeline The following is a timeline of how your body is reacting to the absence of alcohol. Again, not everyone experiences the same thing, this is a general timeline.12-24 Hours After Quitting During the first day of not drinking, your blood sugar normalizes. You will be feeling the effects of withdrawal at this point, so drink plenty of water and stay away from refined sugars.

Try to eat healthy foods like fruit and vegetables.48 Hours After Quitting Your biggest alcohol detox hurdle is over; however, you are still likely feeling withdrawal symptoms. You probably still feel tired, nauseated, and have a headache lingering. Depending on the severity of your alcohol abuse, you make be shaky and dizzy.

Your blood pressure is becoming more stable and your body temperature should have returned to normal.72 Hours After Quitting You may be feeling better physically at this point. But, if you were a heavy drinker or maintenance drinker (someone who drinks around the clock, never allowing the body to be free of alcohol), then you may feel worse and still have shaking and dizziness.

One Week After Quitting You should start sleeping better – more deeply – which will increase your energy during the day. Your skin will be looking better as hydration restores. Conditions you may have had like dandruff, eczema, and rosacea will improve as your skin does.

  1. One Month After Quitting Your liver function should be improving.
  2. Liver fat is reduced by about 15% at this point and that increases its ability to filter toxins out of the body.
  3. You may notice a reduced amount of belly fat, and the most improvement in your skin happens around this time.
  4. Your energy level will continue to rise and you likely feel renewed physically.

If you haven’t already, you should be looking for emotional support from a 12-step group, addiction therapist, or other addiction professional. Most relapses occur within the first six months of sobriety. You don’t want that to happen to you. One Year After Quitting After a year of not drinking alcohol, you lose a significant amount of belly fat.

  • The average is about 13 pounds.
  • More importantly, your risk of mouth, liver, and breast cancer is drastically reduced, and your liver is likely to be functioning normally again.
  • Life Without Alcohol Making the change to sobriety isn’t easy, even though the physical improvements are well worth it and you may need the,

The path to long-lasting recovery is full of twists and turns, making it a good idea to seek help and support to establish healthy coping skills and treat underlying issues. You don’t want to lose the sobriety that you fought so hard for.

Media Contact HQ: Rene William (908) 364-5755Source: SOURCE: Summit Behavioral Health

: Alcohol Addiction Experts Reveal What Happens to Your Body if You Stop Drinking

Can coffee increase estrogen levels?

Progesterone – “I’m not aware of direct association of caffeine and progesterone,” says Oladimeji Oki, MD, a family attending physician at Montefiore Medical Center in New York. “Of course if estrogen levels are altered, the estrogen/progesterone ratio will also be altered.” When there is an imbalance of these two hormones, it can have negative health effects for women.

  1. Drinking caffeine can increase estrogen levels in women, sometimes leading to an estrogen dominant state,” says Odelia Lewis, MD, a medical contributor to ABC News Medical Unit,
  2. Estrogen dominance is associated with premenstrual syndrome, heavy periods, fibrocystic breasts, and even certain breast cancers.

Estrogen dominance is usually associated with low progesterone levels.” In other words, even if caffeine doesn’t directly affect progesterone, because it impacts the relationship with estrogen, it can be important to consider. More research is needed.

How long does it take to balance hormones?

How long does it take to balance hormones? – As you can imagine, this varies. However, research shows that by taking a holistic, well-rounded approach, you can balance your hormones in less than four months, In fact, you can significantly reduce the amount of chemicals and pesticides in your body in one week,

  1. How? By switching to an organic diet,
  2. And in less than 10 days, you can improve your blood sugar by eating less sugar (a main culprit in estrogen dominance).
  3. By incorporating more fermented foods and a potent probiotic, women can more easily detox estrogen—which helps balance hormones—in less than two months.

By four months, eating a hormonally-supportive diet makes an impact, slowing the aging process and protecting fertility.5 of 11 Can Alcohol Cause Hormonal Imbalance Image by Michelle Nash

How do you balance hormones after drinking?

5 Things You Can Do for Hormonal Balance – How do I balance my hormones after drinking? You can balance your hormones after drinking by adopting a healthier lifestyle, including healthy diet, adequate exercise, quality sleep, and reducing your stress levels.

What alcohol is high in estrogen?

The Best Alcohol for Your Hormones – From Vodka to Gin The approaching holiday season means more indulging, more celebrating, and more imbibing is likely on the horizon. We know booze can be a bit of a setback when you’re trying to balance your hormones and improve your skin, but sometimes you just gotta live a little.

  • If you make better choices about what you drink, you can find a happy medium between fun and health without being struck by guilt every time you enjoy a happy hour drink or two.Not all alcohol is created equal.
  • The biochemistry of how your body metabolizes alcohol is complex, causing a variety of hormonal and health impacts that extend beyond the calorie count.

Alcohol like bourbon, wine, and beer contain phytoestrogens (estrogen-mimicking substances), which can raise your estrogen levels, worsening,, and fibroid symptoms. Wine and beer also contain more sugar and carbohydrates than, say, rum, tequila, and vodka causing your body to handle them in the same way it does pure sugar, resulting in a spike in blood sugar levels and cortisol.

Does alcohol affect testosterone?

Abstract – The male reproductive system consists of the hypothalamus, the anterior pituitary gland, and the testes. Alcohol can interfere with the function of each of these components, thereby causing impotence, infertility, and reduced male secondary sexual characteristics.

  • In the testes, alcohol can adversely affect the Leydig cells, which produce and secrete the hormone testosterone.
  • Studies found that heavy alcohol consumption results in reduced testosterone levels in the blood.
  • Alcohol also impairs the function of the testicular Sertoli cells that play an important role in sperm maturation.

In the pituitary gland, alcohol can decrease the production, release, and/or activity of two hormones with critical reproductive functions, luteinizing hormone and follicle-stimulating hormone. Finally, alcohol can interfere with hormone production in the hypothalamus.

Keywords: AODE (alcohol and other drug effects), hypothalamus, pituitary gland, male genitals, reproductive function, testosterone, hormone metabolism, heavy AOD use, cell type, luteinizing hormone, follicle stimulating hormone, gonadotropin RH, secretion, animal model, male, literature review In both men and women, the hormones regulating reproduction form a complex and finely tuned system that affects virtually every cell system in the body.

The male reproductive system consists of three parts: a brain region called the hypothalamus, the anterior pituitary (a gland that is located at the base of the brain but is not considered a brain region), and the testes. This article briefly reviews how those three organs and the hormones they produce cooperate to ensure and regulate male reproductive functioning.

Can alcohol affect your menstrual cycle?

Does Alcohol Affect Your Period? – Alcohol can affect a woman’s menstrual cycle (period). Irregular or stopped menstrual bleeding after alcohol consumption is a common concern for several women. The question transforms from, “Does alcohol affect your period” to “How does alcohol affect your period?” As with any typical health-related issue, it’s advised to monitor alcohol intake in a general sense.

  1. However, the excess amount and binge drinking truly pose a significant problem.
  2. According to the National Institute of Alcohol Abuse and Alcoholism, engaging in regular alcohol use can cause skipped or irregular periods.
  3. The process occurs because alcohol can temporarily increase testosterone and estrogen levels, wreaking havoc on the typical hormonal fluctuations during ovulation.

If you’re a woman that desires to conceive, it’s vital to know that excessive and regular alcohol intake can affect ovulation, and hence fertility. It’s ideal to reduce all alcohol intake when on your menstrual cycle, to encourage healthy ovulation.

Can alcohol cause estrogen dominance?

How Alcohol Affects Your Hormones Let’s talk about the effect of alcohol on your hormones. And for the sake of this topic, I’m talking about consistent alcohol consumption, not the odd glass of wine. I get it, I like wine too – this post doesn’t come from a place of judgement.

  • So – the liver is responsible for detoxing alcohol.
  • But it’s also important for metabolizing estrogen.
  • In women, more than one alcoholic drink per day has been shown to increase circulation of androgens (ie.
  • Testosterone) and estrogens (1, 2) – this predisposes you to symptoms of estrogen dominance.
  • In women, estrogen dominance (essentially, not being properly balanced with progesterone) can present as severe PMS (irritability, headaches, breast tenderness), and heavy, clotty (and/or painful) periods.
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In fact, fibroids are strongly associated with estrogen dominance. Additionally, estrogen dominance (among many other factors) can increase the risk of hormone-dependent cancers (breast, uterine and ovarian). (3) Significant, consistent alcohol intake is also associated with increased levels of cortisol.

For both men and women alike, better moderation of alcohol can create great improvements in hormones. Reference(s):(1) PMID: 157841782) PMID: 26728472

(3) Warshowsky, A. Integrative Medicine: Uterine Fibroids. Chapter 58, 578-591. E2. (4) PMID: 23584113 : How Alcohol Affects Your Hormones

How alcohol affects the menstrual cycle?

Hormonal Imbalance – Alcohol can stop or cause irregular menstrual cycles because it increases levels of hormones like estrogen and testosterone, and sometimes the luteinizing hormone. This causes a hormonal imbalance, which in turn can affect whether your period occurs, how long it lasts, and how heavy it is.

Why are females more affected by alcohol?

National Institute on Alcohol Abuse and Alcoholism No.46 December 1999 Women appear to be more vulnerable than men to many adverse consequences of alcohol use. Women achieve higher concentrations of alcohol in the blood and become more impaired than men after drinking equivalent amounts of alcohol.

Research also suggests that women are more susceptible than men to alcohol-related organ damage and to trauma resulting from traffic crashes and interpersonal violence. This Alcohol Alert examines gender differences in alcohol’s effects and considers some factors that may place women at risk for alcohol-related problems.

Prevalence of Women’s Drinking Household surveys indicate that alcohol use is more prevalent among men than women in the United States (1,2). In one survey, 34 percent of women reported consuming at least 12 standard drinks 1 during the previous year compared with 56 percent of men (1).

Among drinkers surveyed, 10 percent of women and 22 percent of men consumed two or more drinks per day on average (1). Men are also more likely than women to become alcohol dependent (3).2 Women’s drinking is most common between ages 26 and 34 and among women who are divorced or separated (2). Binge drinking (i.e., consumption of five or more drinks per occasion on 5 or more days in the past month) is most common among women ages 18 to 25 (2).

Among racial groups, women’s drinking is more prevalent among whites, although black women are more likely to drink heavily (1). Metabolism Women absorb and metabolize alcohol differently than men. In general, women have less body water than men of similar body weight, so that women achieve higher concentrations of alcohol in the blood after drinking equivalent amounts of alcohol (5,6).

  1. In addition, women appear to eliminate alcohol from the blood faster than men.
  2. This finding may be explained by women’s higher liver volume per unit lean body mass (7,8), because alcohol is metabolized almost entirely in the liver (9).
  3. Consequences of Alcohol Use Research suggests that women are more vulnerable than men to alcohol-related organ damage, trauma, and legal and interpersonal difficulties.

Liver Damage. Compared with men, women develop alcohol-induced liver disease over a shorter period of time and after consuming less alcohol (10,11). In addition, women are more likely than men to develop alcoholic hepatitis and to die from cirrhosis (12).

Animal research suggests that women’s increased risk for liver damage may be linked to physiological effects of the female reproductive hormone estrogen (13). Brain Damage. Views of the brain obtained by magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) suggest that women may be more vulnerable than men to alcohol-induced brain damage.

Using MRI, researchers found that a brain region involved in coordinating multiple brain functions was significantly smaller among alcoholic women compared with both nonalcoholic women and alcoholic men. These differences remained significant after measurements were adjusted for head size (14).

Conversely, a study measuring metabolic energy utilization in selected brain regions found a significant difference between alcoholic and nonalcoholic men but no significant difference between alcoholic and nonalcoholic women (15). These results are not consistent with a greater vulnerability to alcoholic brain damage in women.

However, the female alcoholics reported less severe alcohol use compared with the male alcoholics studied (15). Heart Disease. Men and women who consume one or two alcoholic drinks per day have a lower death rate from coronary heart disease (e.g., heart attacks) than do heavier drinkers and abstainers, as discussed in Alcohol Alert No.45, “Alcohol and Coronary Heart Disease” (16).

  1. Among heavier drinkers, research shows similar rates of alcohol-associated heart muscle disease (i.e., cardiomyopathy) for both men and women, despite women’s 60 percent lower lifetime alcohol use (17).
  2. Breast Cancer.
  3. Many studies report that moderate to heavy alcohol consumption increases the risk for breast cancer (18), although one recent study found no increased breast cancer risk associated with consumption of up to one drink per day, the maximum drinking level reported by most women (19).

Violent Victimization. A survey of female college students found a significant relationship between the amount of alcohol the women reported drinking each week and their experiences of sexual victimization (20). Another study found that female high school students who used alcohol in the past year were more likely than nondrinking students to be the victims of dating violence (e.g., shoving, kicking, or punching) (21).

A history of heavy premarital drinking by both partners has been found to predict first-year aggression among newlyweds (22). In some studies, problem drinking by wives has been linked to husband-to-wife aggression regardless of the husbands’ drinking levels (23). Traffic Crashes. Although women are less likely than men to drive after drinking (1,24) and to be involved in fatal alcohol-related crashes (25), women have a higher relative risk of driver fatality than men at similar blood alcohol concentrations (26).

Laboratory studies of the effects of alcohol on responding to visual cues and other tasks suggest that there may be gender differences in how alcohol affects the performance of driving tasks (27). Women’s lower rates of drinking and driving may be attributed to their lower tendency toward risk taking compared with men (28,29).

  1. Women are also less likely to view drinking and driving as acceptable behavior.
  2. In a 1990 national household survey, 17 percent of women, compared with 27 percent of men, agreed that it was acceptable for a person to drink one or two drinks before driving (30).
  3. Nevertheless, the proportion of female drivers involved in fatal crashes is increasing.

In 1996, 16 percent of all drivers involved in alcohol-related fatal crashes were women, compared with 13 percent in 1986 and 12 percent in 1980 (25). Risk Factors for Women’s Alcohol Use Factors that may increase women’s risk for alcohol abuse or dependence include genetic influences, early initiation of drinking, and victimization.

  • Genetic Factors.
  • The relative contribution of genetic factors to women’s risk for alcoholism has been debated.
  • A survey of 2,163 female twins revealed greater similarity between identical twins compared with fraternal twins on measures of alcohol consumption (31).
  • Similar studies including more than 12,000 twin pairs from the general population have confirmed that among both male and female twin pairs, identical twins are more likely than fraternal twins to have similar rates of alcohol dependence, alcohol abuse, and heavy alcohol consumption (32,33).

Studies of women who had been adopted at birth have shown a significant association between alcoholism in adoptees and their biological parents (34). In addition, antisocial personality (e.g., aggressiveness) in biological parents may predict alcoholism in both male and female adoptees (35).

  1. However, potential interactions between genetic and environmental influences require further study.
  2. Using laboratory animals, researchers are currently attempting to identify gender-specific genetic factors whose interactions might contribute to differential sensitivity to alcohol’s effects (36).
  3. Age of Initiating Drinking.

Results of a large nationwide survey show that more than 40 percent of persons who initiated drinking before age 15 were diagnosed as alcohol dependent at some point in their lives (37). Rates of lifetime dependence declined to approximately 10 percent among those who began drinking at age 20 or older.

The annual rate of this decline was similar for both genders (37). Although in the past women generally started drinking at later ages than men, more recent survey data show that this difference has nearly disappeared (2). Victimization. Using data collected in a large general population survey, Wilsnack and colleagues (38) found that women who reported being sexually abused in childhood were more likely than other women to have experienced alcohol-related problems (e.g., family discord or household accidents) and to have one or more symptoms of alcohol dependence.

Another study found that women in alcoholism treatment were significantly more likely to report childhood sexual abuse and father-to-daughter verbal aggression or physical violence compared with women in the general population (39). Widom and colleagues (40) reached a different conclusion from that of Miller and colleagues.

Instead of relying on women’s recall of their pasts, Widom and colleagues consulted court records to identify cases of childhood physical or sexual abuse. These researchers found that for women, a history of childhood neglect, but not abuse, significantly predicted the number of alcohol-related symptoms experienced, independent of parental alcohol or other drug (AOD) problems, childhood poverty, race, and age.

Physical abuse during adulthood has also been associated with women’s alcohol use and related problems. One study found that significantly more women undergoing alcoholism treatment experienced severe partner violence (e.g., kicking, punching, or threatening with a weapon) compared with other women in the community.

In addition, among women in the community group, those with AOD-related problems reported significantly higher rates of severe partner violence than women without such problems. Although the findings indicate that partner violence and AOD problems co-occur among women, the data do not indicate whether the association is causal (41).

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Are Women More Vulnerable to Alcohol’s Effects?-A Commentary by NIAAA Director Enoch Gordis, M.D. As can be seen by the varied types of information reported on in this Alcohol Alert, the alcohol research field has begun to recognize the importance of understanding gender differences in how alcohol is used, in the consequences of alcohol use, and in the development of alcohol dependence.

  1. For example, where women and men drink at the same rate, women continue to be at higher risk than are men for certain serious medical consequences of alcohol use, including liver, brain, and heart damage.
  2. We know that some of this risk is due to gender differences in metabolism; it also could quite possibly be due to gender-related differences in brain chemistry, in genetic risk factors, or to entirely different factors that are currently unknown.

The more science can tell us about gender-related aspects of alcohol-related problems-not only what they are but why-the better job we will be able to do to prevent and treat those problems in all populations. References (1) NIAAA. Drinking in the United States: Main Findings From the 1992 National Longitudinal Alcohol Epidemiologic Survey (NLAES).U.S.

  1. Alcohol Epidemiologic Data Reference Manual.
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  5. Substance Use Among Women in the United States.
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  7. Rockville, MD: Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration, 1997.
  8. 3) Grant, B.F.

Prevalence and correlates of alcohol use and DSM-IV alcohol dependence in the United States: Results of the National Longitudinal Alcohol Epidemiologic Survey. J Stud Alcohol 58(5):464-473, 1997. (4) American Psychiatric Association, Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders, Fourth Edition.

Washington, DC: the Association, 1994. (5) Frezza, M.; Di Padova, C.; Pozzato, G.; et al. High blood alcohol levels in women: The role of decreased gastric alcohol dehydrogenase activity and first-pass metabolism. N Engl J Med 322(2):95-99, 1990. (6) Taylor, J.L.; Dolhert, N.; Friedman, L.; et al. Alcohol elimination and simulator performance of male and female aviators: A preliminary report.

Aviat Space Environ Med 67(5):407-413, 1996. (7) Li, T.K.; Beard, J.D.; Orr, W.E.; et al. Gender and ethnic differences in alcohol metabolism. Alcohol Clin Exp Res 22(3):771-772, 1998. (8) Kwo, P.Y.; Ramchandani, V.A.; O’Connor, S.; et al. Gender differences in alcohol metabolism: Relationship to liver volume and effect of adjusting for body mass.

  • Gastroenterology 115(6):1552-1557, 1998.
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  • Greater risk of ascitic cirrhosis in females in relation to alcohol consumption.

Int J Epidemiol 13(1):53-57, 1984. (11) Gavaler, J.S., and Arria, A.M. Increased susceptibility of women to alcoholic liver disease: Artifactual or real? In: Hall, P., ed. Alcoholic Liver Disease: Pathology and Pathogenesis.2d ed. London, UK: Edward Arnold, 1995.

  1. Pp.123-133.
  2. 12) Hall, P.M.
  3. Factors influencing individual susceptibility to alcoholic liver disease.
  4. In: Hall, P.M., ed,, Alcoholic Liver Disease: Pathology and Pathogenesis.2d. ed.
  5. London, UK: Edward Arnold, 1995.
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  7. 13) Ikejima, K.; Enomoto, N.; Iimuro, Y.; et al.
  8. Estrogen increases sensitivity of kupffer cells to endotoxin,

Alcohol Clin Exp Res 22(3):768-769, 1998. (14) Hommer, D.; Momenan, R.; Rawlings, R.; et al. Decreased corpus callosum size among alcoholic women. Arch Neurol 53(4):359-363, 1996. (15) Wang, G.J.; Volkow, N.D.; Fowler, J.S.; et al. Regional cerebral metabolism in female alcoholics of moderate severity does not differ from that of controls.

  1. Alcohol Clin Exp Res 22(8):1850-1854, 1998.
  2. 16) NIAAA,
  3. Alcohol Alert No.45: Alcohol and Coronary Heart Disease.
  4. Rockville, MD: the Institute, 1999.
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  • All material contained in the Alcohol Alert is in the public domain and may be used or reproduced without permission from NIAAA.
  • Citation of the source is appreciated,
  • Copies of the Alcohol Alert are available free of charge from the National Institute on Alcohol Abuse and Alcoholism Publications Distribution Center, P.O.

Box 10686, Rockville, MD 20849-0686. Full text of this publication is available on NIAAA’s World Wide Web site at U.S. DEPARTMENT OF HEALTH AND HUMAN SERVICES Public Health Service * National Institutes of Health Updated: October 2000 : Are Women More Vulnerable to Alcohol’s Effects?-Alcohol Alert No.46-1999

Does alcohol increase testosterone in females?

Alcohol and female testosterone – Much of the research on how alcohol affects testosterone focuses specifically on those assigned male at birth, probably because testosterone is the primary male sex hormone. However, there is some science that tells us alcohol may affect female testosterone levels, too.

An irregular menstrual cycle Excess body hair Weight gain Depression and anxiety Polycystic ovary syndrome

So, if assigned female at birth, drinking moderately can help keep hormones in balance and help to avoid the effects of high testosterone.

How does alcohol affect your ovaries?

Estrogen levels – Evidence suggests estrogen plays a major role in ovarian cancer, although the mechanisms aren’t fully clear. It seems when estrogen is out of balance with other hormones, like progesterone and androgens, it can affect the cell division process.

Heightened estrogen levels may encourage mutations in ovary cells. Estrogen-only HRT raises your body’s estrogen levels to help ease menopause symptoms like hot flashes. But people who take estrogen-only HRT for at least 5 years have a 22% higher risk of ovarian cancer than people who never take HRT. Alcohol can also increase the estrogen circulating in your blood, which can contribute to breast cancer.

Since estrogen can cause breast tumors and ovarian tumors via similar mechanisms, alcohol consumption could potentially raise your ovarian cancer risk by changing your hormone levels.