Alcohol use among women is on the rise, according to a recent study, making it a women’s health issue for many reasons. Women and men don’t metabolize alcohol the same way, and the risk of developing an alcohol use disorder is higher among women.
It’s important for women to be aware of the risks of drinking alcohol—not only physically, but mentally as well.
Here we’ll cover some of the biggest concerns of drinking for women’s health.
Alcohol Use Among Women Is On The Rise
A recent study showed that over the past two decades, alcohol use in the U.S. rose dramatically. And this dramatic increase is affecting mainly women.
While the study shows that the prevalence of drinking and binge drinking among men didn’t change, that’s not the story for women.
The prevalence of drinking among women rose 10.1%, and the prevalence of binge drinking rose a whopping 23.3%.
This same study showed that from 1999 to 2008, the number of hospitalizations in women because of alcohol-related issues surged by 52%.
Alcohol use continues to be on the rise, which is a big concern for women’s health.
The National Institute on Alcohol and Alcoholism (NIAAA) claims that heavy drinking and binge drinking is a huge threat to the health, safety, and well-being of American women.
Is Drinking A Women’s Health Issue?
Yes, it is, and there are many reasons why. Alcohol impacts men and women differently—even the standards for drinking differ.
According to the NIAAA, heavy drinking for men is having two drinks per day or more than 14 a week. For women, it’s much less. Heavy drinking is having one or more drinks per day and more than 7 per week.1
What is considered heavy drinking for women is half the amount of what’s considered heavy drinking for men.
For binge drinking, the guidelines are similar. For men, binge drinking is having 5 or more drinks in two hours, and for women, it’s 4 or more.
The reason why these guidelines are so different is that a woman’s body composition is different than a man’s. They absorb more alcohol than men, meaning that if both drink the same amount, women have higher alcohol levels in their bloodstream.2
This causes women to experience the effects of alcohol more quickly; and these effects also last longer.
Women’s bodies break down alcohol differently than men. They absorb more, and they also take longer to metabolize and get rid of it. This causes women to develop an alcohol use disorder more quickly than men.
In many ways, women’s health is at a higher risk when drinking than men.
What Are The Risks Of Drinking For Women?
Drinking for women comes with a higher toll to pay. Because of the different body compositions, and the way alcohol is metabolized, women’s health is at risk, and it is more likely that they will have long-term health problems.
These are a few ways drinking affects women’s health:3,4
- Heavy drinking may affect a woman’s menstrual cycle, and it can increase the risk of infertility.
- Women who engage in binge drinking are at higher risk for being sexually assaulted and are more likely to have unprotected sex.
- Heavy drinking increases the risk of having a miscarriage or premature delivery.
- Drinking large amounts of alcohol puts women at a higher risk for developing breast cancer.
- Compared to men, women are almost twice as likely to develop depression and anxiety.
Other alcohol-related issues, regardless of gender, are:
- Liver damage, like cirrhosis or liver failure
- Brain damage like memory loss, poor decision-making abilities, and shrinkage of the brain
- Heart disease and cardiovascular damage; women are at higher risk for damaging the heart muscle.
- A higher chance of developing mouth, throat, esophagus, or liver cancer
These are only a few of the risks of heavy drinking. Alcohol causes a lot of damage to a woman’s health, but not everything is bad news. Women are also more likely to recover from alcohol addiction. And they’re also more likely to seek help when needed.
Resources for Women
If you’re worried about your health and well-being and need support to quit drinking, there are many organizations that help women overcome addiction.
These are a few places where you can find help:
- Ashley Treatment for Women
- Women for Sobriety
- A Positive Alternative: Women’s Recovery Program
- Cornerstone of Recovery: Women’s program
- Sheer Recovery: Women’s Rehab
- Awakenings by the Sea
Women are at higher risk when drinking than men, not only in physical health but mental health too. To avoid its long-term harmful effects, it’s key to know the risks of heavy drinking for women’s health.
If you’re trying to cut back on drinking but you’re struggling, seeking help is important. But if you’re not ready for counseling, there are natural remedies to help you overcome cravings and control withdrawal symptoms.
The best natural remedy to cut back or quit drinking is Sobrietea. An organic tea crafted uniquely to support your health when you quit drinking.
Its ingredients include ashwagandha, kudzu root (both natural ingredients proven to help you reduce your alcohol intake), milk thistle, and other natural herbs, making it ideal to quit drinking in a healthy way.
Created by women, Sobrietea is a must-have drink to aid women’s health and enjoy all the benefits of a sober life. Order it here.