Women and men share many of the major risks of drinking alcohol to excess. However, women are also exposed to risks that men don’t share. Both men and women who drink heavily can experience significant changes in their key hormones. But the changes affecting women create certain gender-specific risks. These risks affect your chances of having problems with your reproductive system. They also affect your chances of developing several forms of cancer. Altogether, hormone-related concerns provide yet another reason to seek timely women’s alcohol addiction treatment.
The Basics of Alcohol and Female Hormones
All of the body’s major hormones are found in both women and men. That’s true for hormones like testosterone, normally associated only with men. It’s also true for hormones like estrogen, normally associated only with women. The primary difference between the two sexes is the level of each specific hormone present.
How does alcohol affect hormones in females? When you drink occasionally in moderate amounts, your alcohol use may have no significant hormonal impact. However, if you drink heavily, this situation can change. A major issue in women is the relative level of two specific hormones: estrogen and progesterone.
In order for you to maintain good health, these hormones must be in balance. However, alcohol abuse in women can lead to something called estrogen dominance. In this condition, the ratio of estrogen to progesterone rises too high. Excessive drinking can also cause your body to produce too much of another hormone, cortisol. It is this hormone that triggers your built-in fight-or-flight response.
How Alcohol Affects Hormones in Females – The Impact of Estrogen Dominance
Estrogen dominance can negatively impact your health in a variety of ways. One potential consequence is irregular periods accompanied by notable changes in your menstrual flow. A high estrogen ratio can also trigger the development of tumors in the lining of your uterus. In addition, it can lead to the development of dense breast tissue. These two facts help explain alcohol abuse’s potential role in the onset of estrogen-dependent cancers such as:
- Uterine cancer
- Breast cancer
- Ovarian cancer
High estrogen levels alone won’t produce these illnesses. However, they can have a major impact when other factors favoring cancer development are also present.
Alcohol Abuse in Women – Cortisol-Related Problems
Excessive drinking can also lead to several cortisol-related health issues. First, high cortisol levels can reduce your body’s supply of progesterone. In turn, low progesterone levels can lead to estrogen dominance and its associated risks. When your cortisol levels rise, your susceptibility to stress also increases. In the long run, heightened stress can contribute to problems that include:
- High blood pressure
- Diarrhea and other intestinal issues
- Irregular ovulation
- Lack of energy
- Weight gain
Chronic stress can also make existing alcohol problems worse. That’s true because many people drink more in response to their stressful feelings. This situation creates an unintended feedback loop that can make you feel worse instead of better. Drinking can also make you feel stressed for reasons unrelated to changes in your hormone levels.
Find Out More About Alcohol and Female Hormones at Women’s Recovery
Have more questions about how alcohol affects hormones in females? Get the answers you need at Women’s Recovery. We can explain in detail how excessive drinking contributes to hormone-related health risks. We can also explain how successful alcohol treatment reduces these risks.
Women’s Recovery is dedicated to helping women affected by substance problems. That includes women struggling with alcohol abuse and alcoholism. Our customized programs take your needs as a woman into account. They also focus on your needs as a unique person. For more information, just call us today at 833.754.0554. You can also fill out our online message form.