Versão em Português

Alcohol and women's health

11 Abril 2023

In addition to alcoholism, binge drinking among women may increase the risk of other health problems.

Alcohol abuse among women has been increasing in recent years. And although the harmful use of alcohol by anyone poses serious health problems (both individual and collective), women have a higher risk of certain alcohol-related problems compared to men. 

It is important for women to be aware that the effects of alcohol on women's health extend beyond alcoholism. And this has worried several health specialists in Brazil and in the world, since abusive consumption has also grown among Brazilian women.

Data from the CISA publication Alcohol and the Health of Brazilians - 2022 showed that more than 23% of deaths attributable to alcohol in 2020 were of women, with the most affected age group being women aged 55 and over (71%).


(source: CISA, with data from DataSUS 2020)


According to the World Health Organization (2018), 1.6% of Brazilian women meet criteria for alcohol abuse or dependence. And when looking at all causes of death attributable to alcohol among women, mental disorders represent the ninth leading cause of these deaths in 2020 (5%).


Why are women at greater risk compared to men?

Women have a different body structure and biological composition than men, having less water in the body and less enzymes in the liver that metabolize alcohol. Because of this, alcohol tends to be more concentrated in women's bodies, increasing their likelihood of developing problems with lower consumption levels and/or at an earlier age than men.


What are the health risks?

In addition to alcoholism, heavy drinking among women can increase the risk of breast cancer and negatively affect fertility. It may also increase some menopausal side effects when combined with hormone therapy.

Therefore, it is important to keep an eye on your alcohol consumption and, if you decide to drink, limit your consumption to one drink a day for women and, for men, up to two drinks a day to keep the risks of health problems caused by alcohol at a low level.


Phone: +55 11 91257-6108


Privacy Terms & Policy

Subscribe to our newsletter

© CISA, Information Center on Alcohol and Health