Effects of alcohol on women

Updated at: Feb 01, 2013
Effects of alcohol on women

Alcohol is probably the world’s oldest known drug. However, the abuse of alcohol is a major health issue for women now days. Drinking even in small amounts, affects women, differently than men.

Editorial Team
MiscellaneousWritten by: Editorial TeamPublished at: Aug 30, 2011

Effects of alcohol on womenAlcohol is probably the world’s oldest known drug. However, the abuse of alcohol is a major health issue for women now days.

Experts opine that drinking even in small amounts, affects women, differently than men. And heavy drinking, in some ways or the other, is much more risky for women than it is for men.


Difference between women and men in relation to after-effects of alcohol


The answer is simple. Experts suggest that as a rule a man weighs more than woman. Therefore, women have less water in their bodies when compared to men. Water is essential for diluting the alcohol in our digestive tracts. Thus, a woman’s brain and other body parts are more exposed to alcohol than men’s. These differences further have a pronounced effect on woman’s body.


Genetic makeup of a woman is different


Meanwhile, doctors propose that every woman is different. The genetic make-up of a woman in relation to her family history of alcohol problems, illnesses such as heart diseases and breast cancer, medication she’s been taking and age are few of the factors that determine and shape the effects of alcohol on women.


Women who drink are more prone to alcohol-related disorders such as:


Breast Cancer

Research suggests that, in some women, as little as one drink per day can slightly raise the risk of breast cancer. The risk of breast cancer increases for even moderate drinkers. The link between breast cancer and alcohol has also been found in females.

Brain Damage

Heavy alcohol use can change the physical size of the brain and its chemistry. Women may be more vulnerable than men to alcohol inducing brain damage. Using MRI, researchers establish that a brain region concerned with harmonizing multiple brain functions was notably smaller among alcoholic women when evaluated with both non- alcoholic women and alcoholic men.


Osteoporosis is an incapacitating bone thinning disorder where bones are more susceptible to fractures in women than in men as bones become fragile. Experts have pointed towards the fact that heavy drinking in women can dramatically compromise bone quality and may increase osteoporosis risk gradually in life.

Heart Disease

Among heavier women drinkers, research shows similar rates of alcohol-associated heart muscle disease (cardiomyopathy) for both men and women.

Liver Damage

Women are more likely to die from cirrhosis of the liver than men. Alcohol causes alcoholic hepatitis that destroys the liver. When compared with men, doctors recommend that women develop alcohol-induced liver disease over a shorter period of time.

Impaired Driving

Since women are more quickly affected by alcohol than men, doctors suggest that women can risk impaired driving after as little as one drink, especially on an empty stomach.

One of the pivotal risks of drinking is that a woman may at some point abuse alcohol or become alcoholic (alcohol dependent). It is advisable for women involved in heavy drinking to seek help from their health care provider right away.


Read more articles on Alcohol Dependence




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