Did You Know Alcoholism Can Harm Women More Than Men?

May 31, 2008

If you are of the opinion that this is one of those write ups where the ethics of women drinking are going to be discussed, think again. This is not about ethics but about medical facts. However strongly we may believe in equality of sexes, there are certain facts which need to be recognised and acted upon to attain better living. After all, you would not be able to argue with the opposite sex if you were not there to live!

Yes, alcoholism is a very serious syndrome or so to call, a disorder which can cost us our lives. Research today proves that women are more sensitive to alcoholism than men and there are reasons to believe the same. These are discussed further along in the article. However, there are certain reasons, which are known by all of us which account for the ills of alcoholism. Let’s recapitulate them before understanding why it is worse for women.

  • Alcoholism is nutrition deficient – No vitamins, minerals or proteins are provided by alcohol. What is liberated is only energy, much more than fats too! Hence, there is no physiological benefit from alcohol and the effect on the mind is detrimental as it gives you a temporary high which is not a regular normal reaction to the environment and to that extent it is an abnormal behaviour.
  • Weight Gain – Alcohol is rich in calories and hence makes you fatter than ever before. However if you are tired of those skinny legs and dream of chubby cheeks, this could be a benefit.
  • Liver damage – The liver, which metabolises the alcohol is put under stress due to excess intake of the same. This gives rise to generation of dead cells in the liver and this could lead to cirrhosis in turn, which is fibrous tissue of the liver.
  • Blood pressure – Alcoholics are more likely to suffer from high blood pressure.
  • Addiction prone – The worse part about alcohol is that no matter how strong you believe in the ills of alcohol, you get addicted to it sooner or later.

Women are smaller than men and have a peculiar composition and body structure different from the opposite sex. It's because of this that they cant tolerate alcohol as well as men do. In fact a lady can be drunk after 2 glasses of alcohol whereas an average man is drunk only after 6-7 glasses. Some reasons to strongly support the ills of alcohol on women are:

  • Women have lesser water content than men with the same body weight. Due to this when same amounts of alcohol is consumed by both man and woman, the alcohol concentration in the woman’s blood is higher than the man’s. due to this the effects of lower volumes of alcohol have higher responses among women.
  • Women have less alcohol dehydrogenase in their body which is the enzyme responsible for the metabolism of alcohol after which it is excreted out of the body. Hence, the removal of alcohol from the woman’s body takes longer than from a man.
  • Fluctuations in the hormone levels during the various stages of the menstrual cycle also play a role in modifying the metabolism of alcohol.
  • The risk of contracting breast cancer is more for a woman alcoholic.
  • During pregnancy, alcohol can affect the health of the baby as the ills of alcohol are transmitted from mother to child.

So if you have to drink, drink socially in moderation and not habitually!

Additional Reading:

Natural Remedies for Alcohol De-addiction

Even Moderate Alcohol Consumption Puts Your Heart At Risk!


Problem alcohol drinking in rural women of Telangana region, Andhra Pradesh

Alcohol consumption rising fast in India: OECD report

Alcohol, Gender and Drinking Problems

  All Natural Products for Women's Health