The party season is just round the corner. Like men, many women too love drinking. Different cultures allow for differential access to alcohol. Not only is it a source of enjoyment, alcohol helps to unwind with loved ones. A lot of women find it empowering since societal customs and norms earlier prevented them from drinking. It adds to their sense for being at par with men. However, the harmful effects of alcohol is most likely to affect females than their male counterparts. Owing to their sensitivity, it makes them more vulnerable to the ill- effects.
Studies conducted by the Harvard Medical School shows that women give in to alcohol to deal with emotional crises, physical and mental abuse, anxiety, depression and stress. In fact, dependence on alcohol and its abuse is more likely to occur in women. Although the amount of alcohol a woman can safely consume depends on her age, genes, weight along with her overall fitness. However, drinking more than 2-3 units (approximately 175ml), is likely to put women at greater risks of accidents, brain and liver damage, menopausal along with sexual health issues and fertility.
Why is the permissible alcohol limit lower in women?
Since an average woman tends to weigh lesser than men, lower number of tissues makes it difficult for the body to absorb alcohol.
The concentration of alcohol in a woman’s blood tends to higher than men due to the presence of a larger amount of fat in the former’s body. Fat makes dilution of alcohol hard.
Lower levels of alcohol dehydrogenase (AHD), the chemical responsible for metabolizing alcohol in liver causes alcohol to stay for a longer period of time in a woman’s body than a man’s.
A woman’s hormonal functioning may change during her menstrual cycle. This might affect the metabolizing capacity of her body.
The dangers of alcohol:
Alcohol can increase the risk of breast cancer in women by 7.1 percent, the Oxford University’s Million Women Study found. Also, it tends to negatively impact the oesophagus and the voice box as well.
Women planning to have a baby and also expecting mothers must cut down on their alcohol intake. Heavy drinkers might find it difficult to conceive. The first three months being the most crucial, women must abstain from drinking.
Babies born to alcoholics might suffer from a lower weight at birth, abnormal behavioural patterns and learning disabilities.
Younger women are exposed to the dangers of an early menopause. However, older women tend to be at greater risks than young women. Alcohol sets off menopausal problems like hot flushes, night sweats, disrupts sleep patterns and increase risks of developing osteoporosis.
Also, women stand at a greater risk of suffering from brain damage along with a reduction in brain size then men as a result of a regular alcohol consumption.
How to avoid risks?
Even if you drink, stick to the permissible limit. Do not drink in an empty stomach.
Give in to alcohol free days. Your body will thank you for it.
De- Stress yourself. Retail- therapy, cooking, travelling and even a refreshing spa treatment can bust your anxiety. Do it. You will be amazed at how reducing dependence on alcohol can add positivity to your life.
Indulge in a new hobby if you feel lonely and depressed. Seek help if things go overboard.
Nonetheless, stay happy. Try and remain in the company of those who make you feel good.
Born and brought up in India, Anushree's thoughts have been conditioned by a surrounding diverse in all aspects. She aspires to travel round the world and have a taste of the culture, food and music. Her Masters in Political Science has given her a reality check as to where India stands in enlightening its womenfolk. Writing gives her the freedom to materialize her ideas and allow people to sneak into her mind. She finds it fun and liberating.