Watch Your Booze Ladies

Binge drinking rates among American females has become a public health concern

/ Author:  / Reviewed by: Joseph V. Madia, MD

(RxWiki News) There is a world of difference between having a cocktail and binging drinking. The body was not designed to process excessive alcohol in short periods of time. Specifcally with women.

A recent study reported that one out of every eight women participated in binge drinking. Binge drinking has serious health consequences including risk for breast cancer and heart disease.

The Vital Signs report stated that over 14 million women in the US participated in binge drinking approximately three times per month.

“It is alarming to see that binge drinking is so common among women and girls, and that women and girls are drinking so much when they do,” said Robert Brewer, MD, from the Alcohol Program at the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.

"Restrict your drinking to 1-2 per day."

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) published the study on binge drinking among women and high school-aged girls as part of their January Morbidity and Mortality Weekly Report.

Broken down, this works out to about one in eight adult women, or 13 percent, and one in five high school-aged girls, or 20 percent.

For women, binge drinking is consuming four or more alcohol servings in one sitting. The average alcohol consumption during one of these binges was six servings of alcohol.

According to the CDC, around 23,000 female deaths per year involve excessive alcohol use.

Women have higher risk for breast cancer, heart disease, sexually transmitted diseases (STD), unintended pregnancy and other serious health issues from binge drinking.

dailyRx Contributing Expert John A. Dieck, MD, President of Texas Heart & Vascular said "In the cardiovascular arena, the use of alcohol is sometimes popularized because of its beneficial effect on HDL (good cholesterol). It is important to note that the benefit comes from the use of a very moderate amount of red wine, and more is certainly not better. Binge drinking is never good."

If there is a chance a woman could be pregnant, whether she knows it or not, binge drinking puts the fetus at serious risk.

Risks of binge drinking while pregnant include:

  • Miscarriage
  • Low birth weight
  • Sudden infant death syndrome (SIDS)
  • Attention deficit/hyperactivity disorder (ADHD)
  • Fetal alcohol spectrum disorders (FASDs)

The CDC report listed factors that influence drinking:

  • Price and availability of alcohol
  • Alcohol marketing, especially aimed at the underage market
  • Adult drinking habits can influence underage perception of acceptable drinking practices
  • Allowing or enabling underage access to alcohol

Thomas Frieden, MD, MPH, Director of the CDC, said, “Binge drinking causes many health problems, and there are proven ways to prevent excessive drinking. Effective community measures can support women and girls in making wise choices about whether to drink or how much to drink if they do.”

Reviewed by: 
Review Date: 
January 8, 2013
Last Updated:
December 31, 2014