Association of Alcohol Intake with Hormones in Pre- and Post-Menopausal Women

Pavankumar Kamat


October 08, 2021


  • A study showed a significant but modest association between habitual alcohol intake and serum concentrations of hormones and sex hormone binding globulin (SHBG), with evidence of heterogeneity by menopausal status.

Why this matters

  • Findings will help to better understand whether alcohol intake influences hormone concentrations, but further studies are warranted to fully understand the underlying mechanisms linking alcohol with cancer risk.

Study design

  • The study included 30,557 pre-menopausal and 134,029 post-menopausal women (age, 40-69 years) from the UK Biobank (2006-2010).

  • Habitual alcohol intake was evaluated using a questionnaire.

  • Serum concentrations of hormones and SHBG were also evaluated.

  • Funding: None disclosed.

Key results

  • Per 10 g/day increment in alcohol intake:

    • mean testosterone concentration was 3.9% (95% CI, 3.3-4.5%) higher in pre-menopausal women and 2.3% (95% CI, 1.8-2.7%) higher in post-menopausal women;

    • mean SHBG concentration was 0.7% (95% CI, 0.2-1.1%) higher in pre-menopausal women and 2.4% (95% CI, 2.2-2.6%) lower in post-menopausal women; and

    • insulin-like growth factor-1 concentration was 1.9% (95% CI, 1.7-2.1%) lower in pre-menopausal women and 0.8% (95% CI, 0.6-0.9%) lower in post-menopausal women (Pheterogeneity<.0001 for all).

  • In pre-menopausal women, there was no significant association between habitual alcohol intake and oestradiol concentration.

  • The mean concentration of total oestradiol was 1.9% (95% CI, 0.2-3.6%) and 2.4% (95% CI, 0.7-4.2%) higher in the early and mid-luteal phases, respectively, per 10 g/day increment in alcohol intake.


  • Cross-sectional design.

  • Data on alcohol intake were self-reported.


Tin Tin S, Key TJ, Reeves GK. Alcohol intake and endogenous hormones in pre- and post-menopausal women: findings from the UK Biobank. Cancer Epidemiol Biomarkers Prev. 2021 Oct 04 [Epub ahead of print]. doi: 10.1158/1055-9965.EPI-21-0789. PMID: 34607837  View abstract 

This clinical summary originally appeared on Univadis, part of the Medscape Professional Network.


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