Girls Just Want to Have Fun
Alcohol affects women in different ways than it affects men; for this reason, women should be aware of how to track their drinking.
Why does alcohol affect women differently? Well, the biggest reason is that alcohol is held in body water and women tend to have less overall body water than men. Therefore, alcohol can reach their blood stream at a faster rate and in higher concentrations. The effects of drinking too much alcohol may last longer with women because they have less alcohol metabolizing enzymes in their body than men. This also puts women at a higher risk for developing alcohol related health problems such as high blood pressure, depression, stroke, and various types of cancer.
According to the National Institute on Alcohol Abuse and Alcoholism, low risk drinking for women is defined as having no more than 7 drinks per week and no more than 3 drinks per day. Stress seems to be a common theme in the lives of the female population, and it may be super easy to wind down at the end of a day with a glass of wine, which seems to be a pretty popular drink choice for women. However, a tall glass of wine can easily turn into three or more drinks if filled to the brim or even the middle of the glass, then refilled. It is important to know the line for ONE drink in the glasses you are using. Make sure to check next time!
Below are a few effects of long term drinking on women’s body and health:
- Diminishes the skin of necessary nutrients
- Makes any pre-existing skin conditions worse
- Lowers fertility
- Dehydrates the skin
- Causes hair and nails to become brittle
A few ways to track your drinking while out with friends or drinking with men is to use the new app, ‘What’s Your Buzz?,’ make tallies on a note page in your phone, or bring bracelets in your purse and put a new one on with each new drink. The best way would be to start your night out with a set number of drinks you are going to drink that night and tell a friend so that you can hold one another accountable.
One interesting fact about women and drinking is that slightly before and during a woman’s period, they will feel the effects of alcohol more quickly; however, birth control lengthens the time it takes to feel the effects. So if you are on birth control, be sure to really track your drinks because your body may be telling you something different. Alcohol also stimulates ones appetite while decreasing one’s control at the same time; which causes women to drink more than they set out to drink.
A lot of times the calories in the drinks are even more than the calories in some food. For example the calories in a glass of wine are similar to eating a whole cheeseburger! A serving of vodka contains 160 calories which is equivalent to a doughnut! One bottle of beer is like having one piece of pizza! If the calorie equivalents scare you, it is smart to eat more throughout the day and drink less rather than eliminating eating altogether in order to make room for the calories from the drinks. If you participate in refraining from eating in order to drink more, it may cause a reduction of nutrient intake, weaken your energy levels and could even serve as a catalyst to eating disorders or alcohol dependency. If you feel that this is already a part of your lifestyle, seek support from those closest to you or check out the campus resources like the University Counseling Center, Student Health Services, or the Health & Wellness Hub in McCannel Hall.
Just remember, it’s okay to drink less than men! These protective behaviors will ensure you have a good night when you go out with friends:
- Stay with the same group of friends
- Eat prior to and during drinks
- Track your number of drinks
- Avoid drinking games
- Decide not to exceed your set number of drinks
- Ask friends to help alert you when you’ve had enough
*Sources: National Institute on Alcohol Abuse and Alcoholism; Hazelden Foundation; and drinksmarter.org