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Tribal Colleges and Universities Behavior Wellness BASICS Adaptation: Alcohol Use Among Women

Alcohol Use Among Women

The effects of alcohol are different for women:


Women naturally have higher levels of the hormone “estrogen.” They may also take this hormone in the form of birth control pills. Having this hormone in your body makes digesting alcohol harder, so it has a bigger effect for a longer time.

WEIGHT. Women tend to weight less, so alcohol has a large effect. Alcohol can also cause weight gain, increasing risk for diabetes.

DIGESTING ALCOHOL. Women have less of the enzyme which helps digest alcohol.

BODY WATER CONTENT. Women’s bodies are comprised of less water, making alcohol more concentrated and the effects of alcohol more intense.


Drinking one beer is like eating a hot-dog, with an extra 150 calories per beer that might not get burned off easily. Weight gain is related to an increased risk for diabetes, heart disease, and stroke.

Think about the last time you were out with friends. How did alcohol affect you different compared to your friends?