Can Alcohol Cause Hormonal Imbalance?

Alcohol is responsible for destroying many essential body parts like the liver, kidneys, and brain which results in hormonal imbalance. For daily body function, all of these organs are essential and require the production and release of hormones. As you would probably imagine, destroying these body parts by prolonged use of alcohol would lead to hormonal imbalance.

Hormones Damaged By Alcoholism

Here are four ways alcohol can cause hormonal imbalance in your body:

1. Blood Sugar Hormones

The hormones insulin and glucagon which are secreted by the pancreas control blood sugar levels. They work to control blood sugar levels with hormones from the hypothalamic-pituitary system. Insulin decreases blood sugar levels, while glucagon increases blood sugar levels. Alcohol abuse can cause many different kinds of health issues by affecting these two hormones resulting in hormonal imbalance, including:

  • Reduce the effectiveness of diabetes medications
  • Cause both hypoglycemic and hyperglycemic episodes
  • Reduce the effectiveness of insulin

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For alcoholics who are already affected by diabetes, any of the above symptoms can quickly cause type 2 diabetes or be life-threatening.

2. Reproductive Hormones

Alcohol abuse can cause hormonal imbalance by affecting body levels of estrogen (female hormone) and testosterone (male hormone). Both men and women are affected differently by this.

A decreased quantity of testosterone in men can cause:

  • A low sperm count
  • Deformed sperm
  • Impaired sexual function
  • Male breast enlargement (Gynaecomastia)

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In females alcohol abuse can affect levels of estrogen and cause:

  • Irregular menstrual cycles or a lack of menstruation (amenorrhea)
  • Early menopause
  • Menstrual cycles without ovulation
  • Miscarriages

3. Calcium Regulating Hormones

In order to control calcium levels in the body, there are many hormones responsible. Since it promotes strong bones and teeth, calcium is very essential to optimal health. Optimal communication between body cells is also made possible by calcium.

alcohol abuse and hormonal imbalance

Unbalanced levels of calcium can cause conditions such as osteoporosis, which can increase the risk of bone fractures significantly. Fortunately, studies have indicated that after going through alcohol detox and abstaining from alcohol use, the symptoms of alcohol-induced calcium deficiency can be reduced.

4. Cortisol Regulating Hormones

It has been established that alcohol dependence increases the levels of cortisol both during alcohol use and during detox. hormonal imbalance of cortisol may cause things like high blood pressure, decreased bone development, wound healing issues, and digestive and reproductive function problems.

The medical information provided in this article is provided as an information resource only. This information does not create any patient-physician relationship and should not be used as a substitute for professional diagnosis and treatment.

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Cortisol levels can be balanced back after alcohol is eliminated from the body system for a prolonged period of time, as with many of the other detrimental effects of alcoholism.

Which Body Parts Can be Damaged by Alcohol?

Alcohol misuse, as we have already described, can do a lot of harm to some of the essential organs of the body. The liver and portions of the brain are the two that we will be looking at today regarding hormone secretion and control. They are the hypothalamus, the adrenal glands, and the pituitary gland, in particular.

It is important to remember that other severe medical problems may arise from intoxication, and other parts of the body responsible for various body functions may be affected as well.

The Liver

The liver is an incredibly significant organ that performs many essential body functions. It supports the immune system function, secretes digestive proteins and cholesterol, stores and excretes glucose, and removes toxins from the body.

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It also regulates four very important hormones and secretes them. These are growth factor 1, angiotensinogen, thrombopoietin, and hepcidin. To regulate things like growth and iron absorption, these hormones are essential. Sadly, it can not be reversed once significant liver damage is done, so it is important that if liver damage is found, the affected person seeks medical treatment immediately.

The Hypothalamic Pituitary (HPA) System

The hypothalamus, anterior pituitary gland, and adrenal glands are included in this system. Multiple hormones that primarily act to activate the other to release hormones are affected.

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Glucocorticoids are the hormones at the end of this system that are affected. Usually, a hormonal imbalance can cause the glucocorticoid level to increase, which can lead to a disorder called the Alcohol-Induced Pseudo-Cushing syndrome. Their signs and symptoms include:

  • High blood pressure
  • Weight gain (especially around the torso and face)
  • Diabetes
  • Osteoporosis
  • Weakened muscles
  • Mental health problems
  • Menstruation problems

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Recovery from this disorder is possible if the person involved prevents and avoids drinking alcohol.


Several significant parts of the body, including the brain, liver, kidneys, and pancreas, can be affected by prolonged alcohol abuse. This can cause hormone imbalance of various kinds. The most common hormonal imbalance issues observed in alcoholics include difficulties with controlling blood sugar levels, calcium levels and levels of cortisol.

Blood sugar regulation issues may lead to type two diabetes or cause complications in those already affected by diabetes. Osteoporosis can be caused by problems with calcium levels, and cortisol levels can have a variety of adverse effects.

Furthermore, prolonged consumption of alcohol can cause a disorder called Alcohol-Induced Pseudo-Cushing’s Syndrome and problems in both male and female reproductive systems.

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