Skip to content

Women's Health

Women May Benefit More From Alcohol Than Men

1-2 Drinks Regularly Boosts Health and Well-Being
Font Size
A
A
A
By
WebMD Health News

May 14, 2004 -- Cheers! A drink or two on a regular basis helps your overall physical and mental health, new research shows. Women seem to benefit the most from moderate amounts of drinking.

It's an issue that's not been well understood, writes lead researcher Carla A. Green, PhD, MPH, with Kaiser Permanente Center for Health Research.

Many studies have examined the health problems caused by binge drinking or heavy drinking. Other research has found that light to moderate drinking appears to protect physical and mental health. But researchers say that differences in the metabolism of alcohol and body composition between the men and women may lead to sex-specific consequences. For example, studies have shown that postmenopausal women who drink lightly have greater breast cancer risk when compared with abstainers.

Does drinking alcohol affect men and women differently? Just how much is OK? Green's study investigating these issues appears in the latest issue of the journal Alcoholism: Clinical and Experimental Research.

She and her colleagues surveyed 3,069 men and 2,600 women about their drinking patterns and their overall physical and mental health.

They found:

  • Light to moderate drinking -- and doing it more frequently -- was associated with better general health, physical function, and mental health for both men and women.

  • The beneficial effects of drinking alcohol for general health and physical function were stronger for women than for men.

  • The beneficial effects for emotional well-being were the same for men and women.

She defines light to moderate drinking as one to two drinks per occasion, two or more times per week.

"The main effects of gender on health were the strongest among abstainers," Green writes. "It is possible that this reflects greater likelihood that women will avoid or stop drinking in response to health concerns than men."

Green says her results do provide greater understanding of the link between drinking alcohol and its effects on health in the general population. They conclude that women's health may benefit more from moderate drinking than men's.

Today on WebMD

hands on abdomen
Test your knowledge.
womans hand on abdomen
Are you ready for baby?
 
birth control pills
Learn about your options.
insomnia
Is it menopause or something else?
 
woman in bathtub
Slideshow
Doctor discussing screening with patient
VIDEO
 
bp app on smartwatch and phone
Slideshow
iud
Expert views
 

Send yourself a link to download the app.

Loading ...

Please wait...

This feature is temporarily unavailable. Please try again later.

Thanks!

Now check your email account on your mobile phone to download your new app.

Blood pressure check
Slideshow
hot water bottle on stomach
Quiz
 
question
Assessment
Attractive young woman standing in front of mirror
Quiz