Lots of people have made the joke that alcohol will ‘get them through this’ as we adjust to our new reality of quarantine, social distancing, and the impact of the coronavirus in Britain. Alcohol dependency, sadly, is quite common amongst middle aged, middle income people. A few glasses of wine each night after work can very quickly turn into a full bottle.
The women in the UK are one of the groups that drink the most in the whole world. They are the eighth worst demographic for alcohol consumption globally. Because of this, there is a fast growing rate of middle aged women developing liver disease. A potential cause of this could be those who continued the constant binge drinking habits from their youth.
There are also figures which display a growing rate of chronic alcohol consumption among more professional women. This is being called ‘the dark side of equality’ as the population fights for equal prestigious jobs for women.
How does alcohol have an affect on women?
Most of the time, the blood alcohol level will be higher in a woman if she drinks the same amount as a man. This can be because women are usually smaller than men, so the same concentration of alcohol is going into a smaller person.
Even if a woman is the same height and weight as a man, this can still be true. This is because alcohol is held within your body water. Proportionally, women most of the time have a higher amount of body fat than men, and therefore have less body water. This means that when they consume alcohol, it is more concentrated in their body water.
Is there a link between breast cancer and other cancers, with women and alcohol?
The connection between alcohol and cancers has been proven. In 2014, WHO released a report which states that 1 in 5 (21.6%) of all deaths related to alcohol consumption are caused by cancer. The most common cancer in women is breast cancer, so it should be noted how drinking habits can increase the chance of developing the illness.
Chronic alcohol consumption can also increase the risk of you developing many other types of cancer. This includes cancers of the liver, mouth, oesophagus, and larynx.
How does alcohol affect a woman’s fertility?
There is no specific advice on how alcohol affects the fertility of women, but there are recommendations for those who are trying to conceive. It is advised that if you are trying for a baby, or are already pregnant, that you should avoid alcohol completely to lower any health risks to the child.
Consuming alcohol can also unsettle a woman’s menstrual cycle, even if it’s just a small amount. This can have an impact on your chances if you are trying to conceive.
Can drinking alcohol affect your appearance?
There is not doubt about it that alcohol has an effect on the way that you look. It influences you sleeping, and dehydrates you. This can make you look extremely tired over time, and deprives your skin of the much-wanted hydration and nutrients.
Two 250ml glasses of wine can contain up to as much calories as a burger, so it’s understandable that constant drinking can lead people to gain a lot of weight. On top of this, alcohol impacts the way that your body uses energy stores. As we can’t store alcohol in our body, we take priority in burning this over burning our fat and absorbing any needed vitamins and nutrients.
How does alcohol affect women as we get older?
As we age our bodies begin to lose muscle, and store more fat. We also begin to break down alcohol at a slower rate, meaning that we become more sensitive to the effect it has on us.
At the stage of menopause, women’s bodies are going through a lot of hormonal changes. Consuming alcohol can trigger menopause symptoms like night sweats and hot flushes. Drinking alcohol during menopause can also increase your sleep disruption and your risk of gaining weight.
Our risk of developing Osteoporosis gets higher as we age, as our bones slowly become thinner. Alcohol can make this worse, and speed up the process of thinning bones, causing them to become weaker.
Even though we are all going through this Covid-19 crisis, in lots of families, the responsibility of care comes down to the women. They will be attempting to work from home, home school the children, and care for elderly relatives all at once – which can lead them to drinking to relieve some stress.
This is often considered as normal behaviour, but we must do all we can to find different ways of coping. Simple activities like exercising, watching an exciting new tv show, or relaxing in a bath can take our mind off hitting the bottle for a while longer. Whilst it isn’t easy, it is important to our health that we create a new ‘normal’ way to deal with pressure.