Women’s drinking patterns are different from men’s—especially when it comes to the type of beverage, amounts, and frequency. Women’s bodies also react differently to alcohol than men’s bodies. As a result, women face particular health risks and realities.
Women should be aware of the health risks associated with drinking alcohol, especially because most women drink at least occasionally, and many women drink a lot.

Why do women face higher risk?

Research shows that women start to have alcohol-related problems at lower drinking levels than men do. One reason is that, on average, women weigh less than men. In addition, alcohol disperses in body water, and pound for pound, women have less water in their bodies than men do. So after a man and woman of the same weight drink the same amount of alcohol, the woman’s blood alcohol concentration will tend to be higher, putting her at greater risk for harm. Other biological differences, including hormones, may contribute, as well.

What are the health risks?

Liver Damage: Women who drink are more likely to develop alcoholic hepatitis (liver inflammation) than men who drink the same amount of alcohol. Alcoholic hepatitis can lead to cirrhosis.
Heart Disease: Chronic heavy drinking is a leading cause of heart disease. Among heavy drinkers, women are more susceptible to alcohol-related heart disease than men, even though women drink less alcohol over a lifetime than men.
Breast Cancer: There is an association between drinking alcohol and developing breast cancer. Women who consume about one drink per day have a 10 percent higher chance of developing breast cancer than women who do not drink at all.
Pregnancy: Any drinking during pregnancy is risky. A pregnant woman who drinks heavily puts her fetus at risk for learning and behavioral problems and abnormal facial features. Even moderate drinking during pregnancy can cause problems. Drinking during pregnancy also may increase the risk for preterm labor.

Some women should never drink at all, including:

  • Anyone under age 21
  • Anyone who takes medications that can interact negatively with alcohol
  • Anyone who is pregnant or trying to conceive
 BY : http://pubs.niaaa.nih.gov/publications/womensfact/womensfact.htm

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