Alcohol and Women’s Health
Historically, alcohol abuse has primarily been considered a men’s health problem. Today, however, research suggest that women have nearly caught up with men in levels of alcohol use and alcohol-related harms, such as alcohol use disorder and binge drinking.
At Health Edco, we have a wide range of alcohol education materials and women’s education products that highlight the many physical and social consequences of alcohol abuse as well as how alcohol can impact a woman’s breast health.
Read on to learn important facts about women’s health and alcohol, and discover just a few of our educational materials and models that highlight the dangers of alcohol abuse as well as how alcohol abuse can impact a woman’s breast health.
Women react differently to alcohol than men.
Women tend to weigh less than men, and their bodies don’t have as much body water as men’s bodies have to dilute the alcohol they drink. A chemical in the body that breaks down alcohol is also more active in a man’s body than in a woman’s body. As a result, if a man and a woman drink the same amount of alcohol, the woman will end up with a higher blood alcohol concentration (BAC) than the man, putting her at higher risk for negative alcohol-related consequences.
to provide examples of a standard drink.
Alcohol increases a woman’s risk of breast cancer.
For women and men, alcohol use increases the risk of certain cancers, including cancers of the liver, colon, mouth, throat, and esophagus. In women, alcohol use also increases the risk of breast cancer, even with limited consumption. Women who consume only one drink per day may have as much as a 9 percent higher risk of developing breast cancer when compared to women who do not consume alcohol.
of breast health and breast self-awareness.
Women who abuse alcohol are at greater risk of heart disease than men.
Alcohol abuse leads to heart disease in both men and women. Women, however, are at greater risk for alcohol-related heart disease even when they drink less alcohol over a shorter number of years than men.
Women who abuse alcohol may experience brain damage more quickly than men.
When compared to men, alcohol abuse in women tends to lead the brain to shrink more quickly as well as faster brain damage and cognitive decline. Alcohol abuse during the teen years may also more adversely affect the brains of young women than of young men.
Women who abuse alcohol are at greater risk of alcohol-related liver damage than men.
Although alcohol abuse can cause liver disease in both men and women, women who drink the same amounts of alcohol are more likely to develop alcoholic hepatitis, inflammation of the liver caused by long-term alcohol abuse. Women are also at higher risk for cirrhosis (scarring of the liver), which can lead to death.
a healthy, hepatic, and cirrhotic liver.
Alcohol use during pregnancy poses serious risks to a developing fetus.
No amount of alcohol is considered safe for a woman to consume during pregnancy. Alcohol consumption during pregnancy increases the risk for miscarriage, stillbirth, and low birthweight. Consuming alcohol during pregnancy also increases the risk of fetal alcohol spectrum disorders (FASD), a group of conditions—including fetal alcohol syndrome (FAS)—ranging from mild to severe that occur in babies exposed to alcohol in the womb. Babies born with an FASD may have growth issues, central nervous symptom problems, facial abnormalities, hearing problems, or problems with major organs, including the heart or kidneys. Fetal alcohol syndrome (FAS) is at the severe end of the spectrum of disorders. FASD are completely preventable by avoiding alcohol use during pregnancy.
to depict alcohol-related conditions, such as brain damage and FAS.
More female high school students consume alcohol and binge drink than male high school students.
Teen drinking is often perceived as a problem affecting more young men than young women. Research, however, suggests that more girls in high school are now consuming alcohol than high school boys and that high school girls are more likely to binge drink than high school boys.
Find More Great Alcohol Education Materials and Activities
Health Edco has a full range of alcohol education resources dedicated to teaching audiences of all ages about the physical and social consequences of alcohol abuse. Visit our alcohol education products section to find more great materials for alcohol education, or visit our women’s health education resources section to find breast health education materials to teach about the relationship between alcohol and breast cancer risk.
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