What are the Effects of Alcohol on the Female Body?
Drinking is a common activity among both men and women. However, what you may not know is that the effects of alcohol use differ between the two genders in several important ways. Those differences include a woman’s relative risk for developing a severe alcohol-related problem compared to a man’s. If you are a woman who drinks, it is crucial that you learn about the gender-specific risks that you face.
If you are facing an alcohol addiction problem, enrolling in a treatment program as a women can be difficult. Society seems to be more accepting of male alcoholics and there can be, in certain circles, more stigma attached to female alcoholism. Don’t let this be a bar to you reaching out and getting the help that you need.
The Basic Effects of Alcohol on the Female Body
Women have certain physical attributes that make them react to alcohol differently than men do. First, the chemical in your body responsible for breaking down alcohol works less efficiently in women. As a result, a higher percentage of any alcohol you consume makes it into your bloodstream. The average woman also:
- Has a lower body weight than the average man
- Has less water in her system than the average man
For these reasons, the effects of alcohol on the female body are stronger than on the body of a man. Even when you drink the same amount of alcohol, you will typically get drunk faster and have a higher blood alcohol concentration than a man who drinks the same amount.
Together, these factors increase your alcohol addiction risks.
Female Alcohol Consumption and Liver Damage
All people who drink excessively are at risk of liver damage. However, for women, the risks are higher. Most notable is the fact that women have a greater chance of developing alcohol-related hepatitis, or liver inflammation. In turn, this condition increases your odds of developing cirrhosis of the liver, which permanently scars the liver. This scarring significantly decreases your normal liver function.
Effects of Alcohol on the Female Body – Brain Damage
Heavy drinking can physically harm your brain in serious ways. If you start using alcohol at an early age, it can disrupt the normal course of brain development. Excessive alcohol use can also lead to actual shrinkage of your brain tissues. Women and teenage girls who drink have higher risks for such problems than men and teenage boys. These problems can not only develop earlier, but also develop at a faster rate.
Female Alcohol Consumption and Heart Disease
Anyone involved in chronic, heavy drinking has heightened risks for heart disease. Women who drink heavily face this problem more often than their male counterparts. This is true even if your overall alcohol intake is lower than a male counterpart.
Does an Alcoholic Woman’s Body Shape Matter?
It’s a common question, if a woman’s body shape significantly impacts their drinking risks in terms of developing alcoholism. When it comes to the direct effects of alcohol, the answer to this question is no. Like men, women may carry much of their fat in certain body areas. However, your body uses its water supply to process alcohol, not its fat cells. No matter your body shape, that process is essentially the same.
Still, heavy drinking itself can influence your body shape. Why? Once alcohol is processed, its calories are largely converted into fat. Women who drink excessively tend to accumulate this fat in their bellies. As a result, they also tend to have apple-shaped bodies.
Recovery For Women
Do you want to learn more about how alcohol can affect your body? Contact us for more information and to talk to one of our team. We’ll help clarify the many ways in which excessive drinking can harm you. We can also help you determine if your specific drinking pattern is putting you at risk. You may also want to take our self assessment online here.
One point to note is that if you think (or know) you are suffering from alcoholism, the sooner you reach out for help, the sooner you will prevent ongoing damage to your body. Stopping drinking alone is incredibly hard and can also have life threatening side effects. Contact us today about our private alcohol rehab programs for women.