Many women take supplemental estrogens after menopause, a practice called hormone replacement therapy (HRT). Moderate alcohol consumption may increase estrogen levels in women receiving HRT, potentially affecting their risk for various adverse health effects. Two recent studies, however, provide no strong evidence for an effect of alcohol on hormones in postmenopausal women. The possible association between alcohol consumption and risk of cancer of the breast does not appear to be mediated by estrogens. Both estrogens and moderate alcohol consumption have been associated with a decreased risk for cardiovascular disease; however, alcohol’s beneficial effect on heart disease does not appear to involve hormonal mechanisms. Additional research is needed to define the consequences of moderate drinking on hormone levels after menopause.



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