It´s the weekend so I couldn´t NOT write about HORMONES and ALCOHOL.
Some ladies have already felt that they may find it harder to recover after drinking a couple of glasses of wine. Others avoid it during peri-menopause, and for good reason. A glass or too at the weekend won´t hurt most, but remember we are all different and our tolerance is too. Alcohol upsets our mineral balance, especially of magnesium and zinc, but it also upsets the two hormones which are fluctuating wildly during peri-menopause and into post menopause. Here is why:
OESTROGEN AND ALCOHOL
Even moderate alcohol consumption increases oestrogen levels. When oestrogen levels start to decline during the menopausal transition, some my think it’s a good thing that alcohol increases oestrogen. BUT NO!
Alcohol and HRT TOGETHER may increase levels too much and put you at bigger risk of developing symptoms that come with too much oestrogen.
A bit unfairly, higher oestrogen levels may make us be attracted to alcohol even more. Alcohol, even in small amounts, means that the function of the gut and liver is reduced. When the efficiency of the gut is affected, oestrogen can be reabsorbed into circulation leading to an oestrogen excess.
High oestrogen may show up as:
Fibroids, cysts, endometriosis, PMS, fibrocystic breast, heavy menstrual bleeding, breast swelling and tenderness, acne, rashes, weight gain (mainly waist, hips and thighs), feeling depressed or anxious (as levels of progesterone will be low relative to the high oestrogen so no balance), thyroid dysfunction, increased risk of blood clotting, more likelihood of oestrogen receptor cancers of breast, ovaries, uterus and kidneys. See first image shown
PROGESTERONE & ALCOHOL
Alcohol consumption (even moderate) has been linked to impaired progesterone synthesis. Another reason why we need to THINK before we DRINK even more so when going through Peri-menopause. Many women use alcohol for stress and/or anxiety relief, but in the process affect the synthesis of progesterone. Progesterone is the first hormone to take a nose dive and since this is our calming hormone disruptions may mean more anxiety, low mood and difficulties managing stress due to the impact of alcohol.
Generally, women are at a very busy stage of life and juggling family, work and more. We may also be feeling things more deeply, experience tearfulness, mood swings, insomnia and irritability more frequently because our progesterone levels are declining (for some much worse than others as genetics have a lot to answer for in this instance).
When moving through the transition we really need the progesterone to support and calm us, and alcohol literally steals it away from us. Alcohol interacts with our GABA receptors, just like progesterone would.
Low progesterone can show up as:
- Insomnia/disrupted sleep
- Extreme changes in mood
- Weight gain
- Joint pain
Alcohol also impairs the activity of our mitochondria – see tomorrow´s post 😊
Habitual drinking is not good for our hormone balance. See 2nd image shown