The alcoholic hepatitis risk in women is much higher than it is in men. This is due to a number of factors. If you are a woman who is an alcoholic, you need to be aware of the dangers. It is extremely dangerous to continue to drink alcohol. In doing so, you put yourself at great risk for many diseases. Among these diseases is alcoholic hepatitis.
What is Alcoholic Hepatitis?
Alcoholic hepatitis is a condition that occurs when the liver is diseased and inflamed. It is caused by excessively consuming alcohol over a period of time. Anyone who develops alcoholic hepatitis is at risk for a number of medical issues. It can lead to cirrhosis, which is permanent scarring of the liver. It can also eventually lead to liver failure. Research has shown that the mortality rate in severe cases of alcoholic hepatitis is about 50%. In addition, if you continue to drink, you have a 40% chance of developing cirrhosis. A liver biopsy must be done in order to diagnose this condition. Liver degeneration must be present, as well as fibrosis and various changes to the liver’s cells.
Alcoholic Hepatitis Signs and Symptoms
Sometimes, people do mistake the symptoms of alcoholic hepatitis for another condition. Mild cases of this condition might not cause any symptoms at all. As more damage occurs, and the individual continues to drink, you’re likely to experience:
- Significant changes to your appetite
- A chronic, dry mouth
- Excessive weight loss
- An upset stomach with nausea and vomiting
- Yellowing of the eyes and skin
- Feeling confused, and other mental changes
- Chronic fatigue
Noticing some or all of these symptoms of alcoholic hepatitis is a cause for concern. You must get a medical diagnosis immediately. Otherwise, the problem will continue to get much worse. It may eventually develop into a condition that’s even more dangerous.
Alcoholic Women Have an Increased Risk of Alcoholic Hepatitis
Anyone who participates in heavy drinking is at risk for alcoholic hepatitis. Heavy drinking women have a much higher risk than men do. In fact, women are about twice as likely as men to develop this condition. Researchers believe this may have something to do with how their bodies break down alcohol. Men’s bodies tend to do so at a faster rate than women’s bodies. If you are a woman, your risk is great. It’s best for you to stop drinking immediately so that you can get help. Otherwise, the problem is only going to get worse.
What Other Factors Play a Role for Women in Getting Alcoholic Hepatitis?
There are some other factors that may play a role in women being diagnosed with alcoholic hepatitis. Not all heavy drinking women are diagnosed with this condition. This has led researchers to believe that there are other factors to consider. Some of these include:
- Genetic factors that affect how the body metabolizes alcohol
- The presence of any other type of liver condition
- Whether or not the individual is malnourished
- Whether or not alcohol is consumed at the same time as food (usually)
- How long the individual has been drinking
If any of these are factors for you, your risk is significantly higher. It’s important for you to be aware of this so that you can take measures to stop drinking. Cessation of alcohol use is the only way to avoid being diagnosed with alcoholic hepatitis.
Heavy Drinking in Women Defined
SAMHSA defines heavy drinking as binge drinking that occurs on five or more days a month. Heavy drinking is known to contribute to alcoholic hepatitis. Women will frequently participate in heavy drinking behaviors. Many times, they assume that because they’re not drinking every day, that there isn’t a problem with it. This is why so many women are shocked to find out that they have an alcohol use disorder. It’s also common for them to be shocked to find out they have conditions like alcoholic hepatitis. Alcoholism can lead to so many problems. Many times, it all begins with heavy drinking for women.
Binge Drinking in Women Defined
Binge drinking is another common drinking behavior among women. Like heavy drinking, binge drinking is also known to contribute to alcoholic hepatitis. Binge drinking is defined as a pattern of drinking that brings BAC levels to .08. For women, this amounts to four drinks within a two-hour time period. A drink is defined as a serving of alcohol. For example, a 12 ounce beer is considered to be one drink. A 5 ounce glass of wine is also considered to be one drink. Finally, an ounce of hard liquor is also one drink. These are all different amounts, as you can see. This is important for you to know. You could actually be consuming much more alcohol than you think you are. If you consume 4 or more alcoholic drinks during the same time frame, it is binge drinking. For women, this only needs to occur on one day during the last month. Even one episode of binge drinking can be dangerous, and have devastating consequences.
Is Alcoholism a Problem for You? Find Out Now
The truth is that alcoholism risk for women is on the rise. This is something that you might not have been aware of. You also may not be aware of whether or not you’re an alcoholic. Women often believe that they drink alcohol well within the normal range. They assume that most women drink as much alcohol as they do. As you can see by the definitions of heavy binge drinking, it doesn’t take much alcohol to cause a problem. You could be battling alcoholism without even being aware of it. You need to get some answers about your own alcohol use. If you’re struggling with alcoholism, that’s something you need to know. Answer the following questions to determine if you are an alcoholic:
- Do you find yourself thinking about alcohol all the time?
- Do you feel a need to consume alcohol at strange times during the day?
- Do you need to drink alcohol when you wake up in the morning?
- Is your alcohol consumption starting to impact your relationships, or your job?
- Is drinking alcohol more important to you than anything else?
- Have you tried to stop drinking alcohol and failed?
Did you answer yes to any of these questions? If you did, you may be a woman who is an alcoholic. That doesn’t mean you need to panic. Alcoholism can be overcome with the right treatment. Even so, please keep in mind that continuing to drink puts you at a higher risk for alcoholic hepatitis. You are also at risk for many other conditions as well.
Healing From Alcoholism and Alcoholic Hepatitis
You may be in a situation right now where you have both alcoholism and alcoholic hepatitis. You never meant for this to happen, of course. Most people think that drinking alcohol is all in good fun until they suffer the consequences. If this is where you have found yourself, as a woman, please know you have options. The first thing you need to do is to stop drinking. This can keep the alcoholic hepatitis from progressing. If your condition is mild, stopping the use of alcohol can reverse the disease. Your doctor might recommend therapy and medications to help you stop drinking successfully. A gender-specific treatment facility for women is an option you may want to consider. This will help you stop drinking safely. Secondly, your diet should change. You need to be sure you’re getting enough nutrients every day, which your body needs to thrive. Your diet should be low in sodium and packed with vitamins. You may even consider supplementation. Finally, your doctor may also recommend antibiotics for bacterial infections. He or she may want to try to reduce liver swelling with steroids.
Ways to Prevent Being Diagnosed with Alcoholic Hepatitis
There are really only two ways that you can prevent being diagnosed with alcoholic hepatitis. The first way is to never start drinking at all. When you are offered a drink at a party, politely decline. Make it your mission to keep all alcohol out of your system. For most people, that’s a tall order, and it’s really not all that feasible. Fortunately, there is a second way to prevent alcoholic hepatitis. You can prevent alcoholic hepatitis by stopping the use of alcohol now, before you’re diagnosed. Again, it’s not a simple solution, but it is a possible one. The longer you continue to drink, the more at risk you are of developing this condition. Once you have it, it’s likely to turn into something much worse. You can avoid that right now by getting treatment for alcoholism. A women’s rehab facility might be just what you’re looking for. Gender specific treatment for alcoholism can help you more than you know. Please don’t continue drinking. Help is available for you so that you can stop successfully. Embrace the freedom and recovery that are waiting for you.
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