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Red wine sensitivity? Could be hormonal imbalance!

Updated: Apr 3, 2023

This blog is just an observational note.

There is plenty of literature going over the changes that occur as we get older regarding our ability to handle alcohol. There is also conflicting data regarding the safety of moderate alcohol consumption and whether or not moderate drinking contributes to or reduces the risk of cancer in women. But what we do see is that women after the age of 40 have a hard time drinking red wine without consequences.

Peri-menopause and menopause are defined by changes in hormone levels in women's bodies. These changes occur variably but usually start around the age of 40. Alcohol is known to raise estrogen levels, but there is evidence that the chemicals in red grape seeds and skins may actually decrease estrogen levels. If your peri-menopausal symptoms are caused by a drop in estrogen then red wine may make things worse!

We do know that balancing our hormones thru bio-identical hormone replacement (BHRT) is best begun early to limit the side effects of hormone replacement if started years after menopause. My website has a hormone balance questionnaire that can help to see if you have been suffering from issues with estrogen balance. I am happy to talk with you about your hormone levels and I offer testing at my office.

Alcohol has been both blamed for worsening and rejoiced as a cure for peri-menopausal symptoms. There are all kinds of ideas to try to mitigate the headaches from drinking red wine, including organic wines, low tannin reds and even wines grown in special regions of Italy that purport to have low histamines.

But, my bet will be that it is the rapidly changing hormone levels that make women more sensitive to red wine and that by fine tuning hormone levels, you can be free to indulge in that nectar of the gods. Cheers and save a glass for me!

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