In this Section
- Overview of Alcohol Consumption
- Alcohol's Effects on the Body
- Alcohol Use Disorders
- Fetal Alcohol Exposure
- Support & Treatment
- Alcohol Policy
- Special Populations & Co-occurring Disorders
Women’s drinking patterns are different from men’s – especially when it comes to how much and how often they drink. Women’s bodies also react differently to alcohol than men’s bodies. That means women face particular health risks from alcohol.
Women who drink beyond moderate levels can face a variety of health risks.
Women face higher risks than men because:
- Women typically start to have alcohol-related problems at lower drinking levels than men
- Women typically weigh less than men
- Pound for pound, women have less water in their bodies than men do, and alcohol dissolves in body water
These health risks can include:
- Liver Damage – Women who drink are more likely to develop liver inflammation than men.
- Heart Disease – Women are more susceptible to alcohol-related heart disease than men.
- Breast Cancer – Women who have about one drink per day also have an increased chance of developing breast cancer compared to women who do not drink at all.
- Pregnancy – Any drinking during pregnancy is risky. Heavy drinking can put a fetus at increased risk for learning, behavioral, and other problems.
Learn more details on Women and Alcohol.