Women’s health and alcohol do not get nearly the amount of attention they should. With the prolific amount of money that goes into marketing alcohol to women, it is crucial that women are given the truth about what alcohol does to their bodies. Read on to get all the information you need to make empowered decisions when it comes to your health and drinking.
Women’s Health and Alcohol
Why women’s health and alcohol a concern? Simply put women are drinking more. More women are drinking. And they are drinking more frequently and in much larger qualities. Alarmingly, we are now seeing more alcohol-related illnesses showing up in women. Women who drink have a higher risk of certain alcohol-related problems compared to men.
Why are women at risk?
Studies show that women start to have alcohol-related problems sooner and at lower drinking levels than men and for multiple reasons. Generally speaking, women weigh less than men. Alcohol resides predominantly in body water, which is problematic because women have less water in their bodies than men. So if a woman and a man of the same weight drink the same amount of alcohol, the woman’s blood alcohol concentration will trend higher, putting her at greater risk for harm. Other biological differences may contribute as well.
What is the damage?
Alcohol inflicts damage on virtually every system in the body from head to toe. A supposedly heart-healthy glass of wine is linked to heart disease. Those fruity drinks by the pool make you more susceptible to skin cancer. When it comes to women’s health and alcohol, there is no good news to report.
Alcohol Use Disorder
First and foremost, regular drinking puts women at risk of developing alcohol use disorder. Regular does not mean daily. It also encompasses binge drinking episodes. Alcohol use disorder (AUD) is a chronic relapsing brain disorder characterized by an impaired ability to stop or control alcohol use despite adverse social, occupational, or health consequences. Falling upon a spectrum, AUD ranges from mild to severe. Alcohol Use Disorder is not a permanent condition. In fact, it can be completely reversed.
Alcohol-related liver disease is a major concern when it comes to women’s health and alcohol use. Doctors have seen a meteoric rise in the number of women (especially young women) being diagnosed with alcohol-related liver conditions. In the early stages, the damage is treatable. Undiagnosed the condition can develop into alcohol-induced cirrhosis, alcohol-induced hepatitis, and liver cancer – all of which can be fatal.
In women, heart disease has long been called the silent killer. Most women have at least one factor which contributes to heart disease. Alcohol use just might be a second one. Women are more susceptible to alcohol-related heart disease than men. Often women show no signs of heart disease or damage. That is until they suffer a heart attack or other catastrophic heart-related episode.
Women are more susceptible to brain damage caused by alcohol use. Beginning in the teenage years and all the way through to alcohol-induced dementia in later years – women and their brains feel the effects of alcohol much harder even with less alcohol consumed than their male counterparts. Some studies also suggest women are more likely to experience alcohol-induced blackouts.
Alcohol is linked to over 7 different forms of cancer. Unfortunately for women – breast cancer is one of them. Studies show women who consume only 1 drink per day have a 5 to 9 percent higher chance of developing breast cancer than women who do not drink at all. The risk increases for every additional drink they have per day.
There is good news!
The news is not completely dire. Take a break from alcohol or reduce your intake to improve your health and reduce the risks to it. Check out our free e-book on 6 Tips For Taking A Break From Booze. We’ve packed it with free advice on how you can cut back or even stop your drinking!