Alcohol & Gender

Women are more vulnerable than men to the negative effects of drinking. Women have less total body water and less alcohol dehydrogenase – the stomach enzyme involved in metabolizing alcohol. As a result, the female body takes longer to break down alcohol. Also, the fluctuations in hormone levels that women experience during the menstrual cycle can make a woman more susceptible to the effects of drinking. And because alcohol increases estrogen levels, birth control pills or other medications containing estrogen can increase intoxication.1

Two-thirds of alcoholics are men; however, the negative effects of heavy drinking are more severe for women. Female alcoholics are more likely to suffer alcohol-related damages and diseases than alcoholic men.2


1 Facts On Tap: How alcohol discriminates. http://www.factsontap.org/riskyrel/Factsmw.htm. June 21, 2002.
2 InTheKnowZone Alcohol Page.

Alcohol and the sexes

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