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Skidmore College
Health Services

Alcohol & Women

  • A 130-pound female who drinks four 12 oz beers in two hours has a blood alcohol content of about 0.12
  • A 170-pound male who drinks four 12 oz beers in two hours has a blood alcohol content of about 0.07

One drink for the woman has the same effect
as two drinks for the man!


  • The obvious size difference. Men generally have a bigger frame and build so the alcohol is diluted over a larger mass.
  • Differences in body water content. Men are composed of 55-65% water and women are composed of 45-55% water; so alcohol is more diluted in men that in women.
  • Gastric alcohol dehydrogenase enzyme. Men have higher levels of this enzyme enabling them to break down alcohol more effectively in the stomach before it even reaches the blood stream and impacts blood alcohol content.
  • Hormonal changes. One week prior to menstruation, women are vulnerable to maintaining a peak degree of intoxication for longer periods than at other times of their cycle. Women using oral contraceptives are also found to be more vulnerable.

 What Else?

  • Organ Damage. Women develop alcohol-related organ damage at lower levels of alcohol consumption and after a shorter history of heavy drinking than men.
  • Sexual Aggression. Women who are even a little bit intoxicated are more likely to be victimized than those who are sober.
  • Osteoporosis. Post-menopausal women who drink heavily are at increased risk. 

So What?

Women will experience greater impairment after drinking less alcohol than men, resulting in greater risk for harm, hangovers, vomiting, blackouts, regretted behavior, and long-term health consequences. If you choose to drink, choose to BE SMART!