Binge drinking not just for the guys

By Shayna Brouker • Published: April 30th, 2013
Category: Health in a Heartbeat

Spring break has come and gone, but binge drinking on college campuses … and beyond … continues. And although binge drinking is traditionally associated with frat parties, the latest research shows women are keeping up with the guys. A study from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention revealed that 12.5 percent of adult women — or 14 million — binge drink. And of those who do binge, they imbibe heavily about 3.2 times a month, at a rate of 5.7 drinks each sipping session.

The study, published in the journal Morbidity and Mortality Weekly Report, defined binge drinking as five or more drinks at a time, but the C-D-C also recommends no more than one drink a day for women. Twenty-two percent of high school girls reported binging, and the rate increased with household income.

The worst that may happen some nights could be a lost wallet or a night in jail. But the study showed that binge drinking accounted for half of deaths and years of potential life lost in the years 2001 to 2005. Excess alcohol also contributes to cancer and sexually transmitted diseases. For women who hope to have children someday, too many nights of getting sloshed could impact menstrual cycles, fertility and your future fetus’ health — even if you stop drinking during pregnancy. It could even cause brain shrinkage and memory loss. What’s more, women are more susceptible than men to this unfortunate side effect. They are also more sensitive to alcohol overall.

But you don’t have to turn into a teetotaler just yet — moderation is key to enjoying alcohol in a healthy way. Know your limit and practice pacing yourself. Make sure you drink a glass of water between every beverage. Start slow and sip only a little at a time. Choose light beers, white wines or vodka, which have the least amount of alcohol compared with other brews and spirits. Cheers to that!