How Does Alcohol Affect My Body?

Alcohol can have many effects on the body, which is why we are suggested a number of units each week, which are different for men and women. Alcohol can affect everything from our brain cells to our reaction time, and although many of us drink alcohol every week, we may not understand the effects it has on our body. Below are some of the things that occur within our body when we consume alcohol and why.

The Liver

One of the most well-known effects on the body when drinking alcohol is in the liver. This is where alcohol is broken down, the liver removes the toxins in alcohol from the body ready to be excreted. Long term alcohol use can cause all kinds of damage to the liver, including liver disease and means the liver is no longer able to function, leaving alcohol toxins in the body. The reason women are told to drink less units than men is due to the fact that they are more at risk of liver damage as their bodies take longer to metabolize and remove the toxins from alcohol. Having a few days off between nights out can be beneficial to your liver.

The Brain

Alcohol has many effects on the brain and changes many interactions between the body and the brain. This is easy to see when you are drunk, with slurred speech and a loss of balance being extremely common. Therefore, you should never drink and drive, as the reactions between what your eyes are seeing and the time it takes for this to register in your brain and for your body to react is significantly slower, even after a few units. Excessive alcohol use over a period of time can cause frontal lobe damage which affects our judgement, emotions and short-term memory. If you or a loved one are showing any of these symptoms and has been consuming more alcohol that usual, look at alcoholism treatment programs before things get more serious and permanent brain damage occurs.

Reproductive Health

For couples trying to conceive, it may be recommended by your doctor or gynecologist to stop consuming alcohol, especially if you are having trouble. Women who consume too much alcohol can have an affected menstrual cycle or stop menstruating altogether. This increases the chance of infertility. We also may not know we are pregnant straight away and consuming any alcohol whilst a fetus is growing can have detrimental effects on the child including the risk of miscarriage and premature birth. The child will be at a much higher risk of having mental and physical problems, therefore it is much safer to avoid alcohol as much as possible when trying to conceive.

Although alcohol can have many effects on the body, it is not necessarily dangerous on special occasions. Know your limits and try and stick to the healthy amount for your gender, having days off between drinks. Enjoy alcohol safely and responsibly and seek help if you believe your or a loved one has an alcohol addiction.

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