Women Tend to Reach Higher BAC Levels More Quickly Than Men

Men have always been the heaviest drinkers in Western culture, as exemplified by Don Draper and his Mad Men colleagues.

Who regularly down three martinis at lunch and sip Old Fashioneds in the workplace bar after hours, a place where few women would dare to go.

Women Tend to Reach Higher BAC Levels More Quickly Than Men

Epidemiologists, however, have observed a progressive shift in the booze imbalance, likely due to the increased marketing of alcohol to women and the shifting gender roles in society.


Are Women More Vulnerable to Alcohol’s Effects?

Many of the negative effects of alcohol drinking appear to be more severe for women than they are for men.

After imbibing the same volume of alcohol, women reach a higher blood alcohol concentration and experience greater impairment than males.

Alcohol can do serious damage to a woman’s organs, and studies show that women are especially vulnerable to the psychological and physical effects of trauma from car accidents and interpersonal abuse.

In this Alcohol Alert, we look at how alcohol affects men and women differently and at what variables may put women at risk for alcohol-related disorders.

Why Do Women Tend to Reach Higher BAC Levels More Quickly Than Men

The physiological distinctions between men and women are ultimately at play here. There are physiological distinctions between the sexes.

That contribute to alcohol’s more profound effects on women. Women and men metabolise alcohol in different ways.

1. Women Have Less Body Water

Women, regardless of their height or weight, tend to have a higher body fat percentage than men. men, on the other hand, tend to have a higher muscle-to-fat ratio.

When alcohol is ingested, it quickly and evenly distributes itself throughout the body’s water. However, women have a higher blood alcohol content due to a lower water intake.

2. Women have Lower Levels of the Enzyme Alcohol Dehydrogenase

The main enzyme involved in alcohol metabolism is called alcohol dehydrogenase. Because women produce less of this enzyme, they tend to have a higher rate of alcohol absorption.

3. Women Have Increased Hormonal Fluctuations

That old chestnut, hormones. Far too often, people attribute a woman’s mood swings or other erratic behaviour to hormonal imbalance.

During the menstrual cycle, a woman’s body has a stronger tendency to speed up and intensify the absorption of alcohol (the time before the arrival of the period).

The oestrogen in contraceptives has been shown to increase the duration of an alcoholic beverage’s effects.


While men and women of equal weight can get the same BAC by drinking the same amount of alcohol, women will reach that BAC more quickly and be more impaired.

Biological variations in factors including body composition, metabolism, and hormones account for this. Women shouldn’t challenge men to a beer drinking contest since men have a natural advantage.