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
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 iÂ¼ 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
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.