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  • drsheenu sanjeev

EFFECTS OF ALCOHOLISM ON HORMONES

Hormones are special chemical messengers in the body that are secreted by endocrine system directly into bloodstream. These hormone control the functioning of all tissues and organs. There are various gland throughout the body which releases hormones that act on tissues.

These glands are:

  • Hypothalamus

  • Pituitary

  • Thyroid

  • Adrenal gland

  • Gonads

  • Pancreas

  • Parathyroid

The body is finely tuned for release of hormone at proper time in order to your tissue and organ to function. Men and women bath have a blend of testosterone and estrogen in their body, men have more testosterone and female has more estrogen. They also have many other hormones also.

Alcohol consumption effects the hormones levels which disturb the functions. By interfering hormone system alcohol can effects blood sugar level, impair reproductive system, interfere with calcium metabolism and bone structure, affect hunger and digestion, and increase risk of osteoporosis.

Effects of alcohol on different hormones are as follows:

1) Insulin and glucagon hormone: The blood glucose level is controlled by insulin and glucagon hormone secreted by pancreas .They work together to maintain blood sugar level. Insulin decrease the level and glucagon increase it. Alcohol increase the glucose levels and interfere the hormones which regulate blood glucose level. Chronic drinking increase the blood glucose level because

Alcohol can -

  • Reduce the responsiveness of insulin

  • Cause glucose intolerance

  • Increase the secretion of glucagon which increase the breakdown of glycogen into glucose

  • Thus level of blood glucose increases

2) Alcohol impairs calcium metabolism and bone structure: Hormones play important role in maintaining calcium level in the body. Which is necessary not only for strong bones and teeth but also for communication between and within the cells of the body. Several hormones like parathyroid hormone, vitamin derived hormone and calcitonin work together to regulate calcium absorption, excretion, and distribution between bones and body fluids.

  • Acute alcohol consumption interfere with these hormones and therefore interfere calcium and bone metabolism.

  • It cause PTH deficiency and increase calcium excretion.

  • Disturbs vitamin D metabolism and limits adequate absorption of dietary calcium.

  • Inhibits activity of bone forming cells - All these cause calcium deficiency which can lead to osteoporosis and increase the risk of fracture.

  • Alcohol consumption also increases the cortisol level.

  • Cortisol Hormone increase the stress level and blood pressure and later on put adverse effect on bone growth, digestion, reproduction and wound repair.

3) Alcohol impairs the reproductive hormones: Female reproductive hormones are estrogen and progesterone. These hormones are responsible for breast development, regulation of menstrual cycle, carrying and maintaining pregnancy, development of secondary sexual characteristics and distribution of body hair.

Chronic drinking can interfere with all of these functions. Alcohol can impair the adequate functioning of ovaries and result in hormonal deficiencies, sexual dysfunction and infertility.

Alcohol consumption increases the estrogen level. High estrogen level can lead to weight gain particularly around hips and waist. Excess estrogen can cause menstrual problems such as irregular periods, light spotting, heavy bleeding. Alcohol consumption worst the menopausal symptoms. Other symptoms that females can experience with high estrogen are-

  • Bloating

  • Cold hand and feet

  • Difficulty in sleeping

  • Fatigue & hair loss

  • Headache

  • Low sex drive

  • Depression, anxiety, mood swing

  • Swollen and tender breast

  • Non-cancerous breast lumps

  • Uterine fibroids

  • High estrogen level increase the risk of breast cancer

Testosterone is the primary sex hormone in males. It is responsible for the functions like sex drive, hair growth and bone and muscle development. Testosterone level may vary throughout the life. To maintain testosterone level throughout life is essential for physical, mental and sexual health.

Alcohol consumption can affect the male reproductive system and testosterone level. Excessive alcohol consumption decreases testosterone.

How alcohol affects testosterone?

Alcohol can increase stress hormone cortisol, which is known to decrease testosterone hormone. Alcohol may increase the conversion of testosterone to estrogen in the body. Drinking alcohol results in the release of certain endorphins,they can also interfere the synthesis of testosterone. Alcohol damage leydig cells of testes which produce and secrete testosterone.

Low testosterone levels are associated with

  • Depression

  • Low sex drive

  • Decreased bone and muscle mass

Alcohol consumption increase the estrogen level in males also which is a female hormone.

It start to develop secondary sexual characters in males like enlargement of breast and voice thinning.

Excessive alcohol consumption effects the hormones level in both male and female. The increase and decrease level of hormones are responsible of many diseases like cancer,depression, bone health problem, sexual problem and menstrual problem in females.



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