Alcohol and its Effect on Women

Alcohol and its Effect on Women

courtesy of the Double Helix BBS at 212-865-7043

The following is an abstract from the N.E.J.M. 1/11/90 which might

be of general help and is of definite interest in defining social

behavior and in defining the limits of ourselves.

The article concerns the effects of alcohol and sex factors.

The abstract is as follows:

After consuming a comparable amount of ethanol (alcohol), women

were found to have higher blood ethanol concentrations than men

even with allowances for differences in size and were found to

be more susceptible to alcohol induced liver disease.

Recently we documented significant “first-pass metabolism” of

ethanol due to its oxidation by gastric tissue.

We report a study of the possible contribution of this

metabolism to the sex related difference in blood alcohol

concentrations in 20 men and 23 women. Six in each group were



What is being noted here (after first being noted in rats) is

that women do not metabolize alcohol via enzymes which are

present in their stomachs, or more specifically their stomach

walls (gastric mucosa) while men do.

In both men and women this ability decreases with excessive

consumption, however women have less ability to metabolize

alcohol in this manner than men, even if they are not regular


This sex difference is not reported for rats, but the ability

to significantly metabolize alcohol via the stomach mucosa was

first noticed in this species.

In women who are alcoholics stomach metabolism of alcohol was

virtually abolished.

The significance of this is that women who consume alcohol

excessively are more likely to suffer damage, usually to the

liver, than are men.

Furthermore, in regard to women who are pregnant, the existence

of the fetal alcohol syndrome, even in women who consume small

amounts of alcohol i¼ explained.






It has previously been documented that women who consume

alcohol during their pregnancy have smaller, less healthw and

possibly less intelligent babies than does who do not.

Of course this highlights the fact that without question

alcohol is the most dangerous drug problem this nation has.

Other studies on this subject have shown that while cigarette

smokers pay the public and private health cost of smoking via

the taxes placed on the product, alcohol consumers do not.

That is to say that the amount of taxes paid for alcohol does

not cover the medical cost alcoholic drinkers bring on

themselves because of their consumption.

This is despite the fact that one gallon of alcohol, untaxed,

is costs about $2 while the same gallon, when taxed, costs

about $20.

Interestingly, while it has for a long time been common medical

knowledge that the substance abuse laws are antiquated in

regard to our documented knowledge of harm caused by the

substances so listed (marijuana in particular) the list can not

only be considered stupid but sexist as well.

I do not mean to encourage the use of anything but women who

are pregnant must avoid the use of all legal drugs and should

not be mislead into thinking the legality of a substance has

anything to do with its potential harm.

This point is stressed since surveys of drug and alcohol have

shown a decline of one with the increase of the other.

During the 60’s and 70’s when drug consumption of other

substances increased the rate of alcohol consumption declined.

More recently the opposite trend has manifested.