DOES ALCOHOL AFFECT WOMEN DIFFERENTLY THAN MEN?

December 28th, 2011

It seems to be clear from multiple studies that women are more vulnerable to the negative effects of alcohol consumption.

Because women have less water in their bodies than men, they accumulate higher levels of alcohol in their blood when drinking the same amount as men.  This happens even if the woman weighs the same amount.

Therefore, women are more susceptible and are at higher risk for liver, heart and brain damage, from alcohol consumption.

The long talked about effect of alcohol consumption on breast cancer risk, is not as clear as it was thought to be. Recent information indicates that up to a drink a day does not increase the risk of developing breast cancer.

Though a larger percentage of men drink consistently and are more likely to become alcohol dependent, drinking is most common for women in their 20’s and 30’s and increases with stress, divorce, separation and living with a partner who drinks.

What Exactly Is A Drink?

Any of the amounts below constitutes ONE drink:

A bottle of beer (12 ounces)

A wine cooler (12 ounces)

1.5 ounces of 80 proof alcohol

5 ounces of wine

Though most women realized the risk of drinking while pregnant, studies show that over 50% of pregnant women drink at least through the first trimester.

One study reported that 58% drank while pregnant, while 65% drank during the first trimester and 56% and 54% during the 2nd and 3rd trimesters, respectively.

Fetal Alcohol Syndrome (FAS) is the most common and preventable cause of mental impairment and birth defects in newborn babies. Simply put, pregnant women SHOULD NOT DRINK ALCOHOL!

The bottom line is that except when pregnant, a drink a day is OK for women and may even be beneficial.  Averaging more than a drink a day for women makes any benefits disappear and introduces increased health risks as discussed above.

 

Curt Hendrix, M.S., C.C.N., C.N.S.