Drinking is a common activity among both men and women. However, the effects of alcohol use differ between the two genders in several important ways. Those differences include the impact that alcohol has on a woman’s body. They also include women’s relative risks for developing severe alcohol-related problems. If you’re a woman who drinks, it’s crucial that you learn about the gender-specific risks you face. Enrolling in alcohol addiction treatment is just as essential if you’re affected by symptoms of alcoholism.
The Basic Effects of Alcohol on the Female Body
Women have certain physical attributes that make them react to alcohol differently than men. 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 all of these reasons, the effects of alcohol on the female body are stronger than on men’s bodies. Even when you drink the same amount of alcohol, you will typically get drunk faster and have a higher blood alcohol concentration.
Together, these factors increase your alcohol addiction risks.
Female Alcohol Consumption and Liver Damage
All people who drink excessively are at risk for liver damage. However, for women, the risks are higher. Specifically, women have greater chances of developing alcohol-related hepatitis, or liver inflammation. In turn, this condition increases your odds of developing liver cirrhosis. Cirrhosis permanently scars your 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. Those problems can 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. That’s true even if your overall alcohol intake is lower than a man’s.
Does an Alcoholic Woman’s Body Shape Matter?
Does an alcoholic woman’s body shape significantly impact drinking risks? 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.
Learn More About the Effects of Alcohol on the Female Body at Women’s Recovery
Want to learn more about how alcohol can affect your body? Talk to the addiction specialists at Women’s Recovery. 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.
Are you affected by diagnosable alcohol problems? Women’s Recovery is your source for customized, women-center alcohol treatment. We’re committed to helping you regain your sobriety and limit drinking’s damaging effects. Get the process started today by calling us at 833.754.0554. You can also reach us through our online information form.