Physical Effects of Alcohol

According to the World Health Organization, three million deaths in a year and more than 200 diseases and injuries are alcohol-related (“World Health Organization”, 2018). Every alcoholic drink has a custom amount of alcohol content and ingredient that form the basis for its brand. However, all brands have a dependency-producing property and cause harm to the body and mind of consumers. Alcohol affects the physiology of the human body; interferes with testosterone levels, sperm count, and erection in men, and cause breast cancer and fertility problems in women. The levels of water, body fat, and dehydrogenase cause differences in the effects of alcohol on men and women.

Consumption of alcoholic drinks causes serious health effects on the brain, heart, liver, and pancreas. Study shows that alcoholism changes the physiology and processing speed of the brain, which manifests in the change of mood, behaviour, and coordination (Oscar-Berman & Marinković, 2007). Too much drinking on a single occasion may cause high blood pressure, stroke or deformation of the heart muscles. Alcoholism puts consumers at risk of liver diseases since excessive drinking hinders metabolism. Likewise, alcoholism may lead to pancreatic diseases such as pancreatitis and inflammation, which hinders the digestion of food. Lastly, there is a strong consensus between certain types of cancers with alcoholism (Connor, 2016). Besides, alcohol cause an increase in body weight, messing with the appearance of the human body after prolonged drinking. Generally, alcohol affects the physical performance and physiology of the human body.

Some physical effects are more prevalent in men. For instance, alcohol interferes with testosterone levels, sperm count, and erection. Precisely, alcohol damages the Leydig cells, which are the building unit for testosterone. Also, the body releases cortisol in large amounts, hindering the secretion of testosterone (Sarkola & Eriksson, 2003). Low testosterone levels lead to more pronounced physical effects such as increased body fat, regular swelling, decreased muscle strength, and weak bones. Besides, alcohol interferes with the manufacture and release of sperms, causing low sperm count. These effects manifest in men only.

Similarly, there are physical effects of alcohol which manifest only in women. For instance, alcohol affects the ability of a woman to conceive. Lack of conceiving capabilities underly in the effects of alcohol on the menstrual cycle (Sarkola & Eriksson, 2003). Besides, there are higher chances of suffering from breast cancer for women who consume alcohol. Studies show that alcoholism triggers menopause earlier for alcoholic women compared to non-alcoholic. That is, they tend to experience hot flushes and sweat at night early before the ideal age for menopause (Ziv-Gal & Flaws, 2010). Notably, the effects mentioned above manifest only in women.


Both men and women process alcohol content in their bodies differently, due to differences in physiology for both sexes. Firstly, women bodies contain relatively more water and fat than men (Robb-Nicholson, 2013). Secondly, women have a lesser count for dehydrogenase compared to men. Dehydrogenase breaks down alcohol through digestion before it is released into the blood. In that light, a woman will have more alcohol content in the bloodstream than a man, given that the two took the same amount of alcohol. They also metabolise more alcohol content than men.

To sum up, alcohol causes physical effects in men and women. Some effects are common for both gender, but others are particular to each. Men suffer abnormal testosterone levels, sperm count, and erection, while women suffer conceiving problems. The difference arises from the biological difference in the amount of water and fat and dehydrogenase. Women metabolise more alcohol content into the bloodstream than men, and consequently, physical effects are adverse in women than men.


“World Health Organization”. (2018). Alcohol. Retrieved from

Connor, J. (2016). Alcohol consumption as a cause of cancer. Addiction112(2), 222-228. doi: 10.1111/add.13477

Oscar-Berman, M., & Marinković, K. (2007). Alcohol: Effects on Neurobehavioral Functions and the Brain. Neuropsychology Review17(3), 239-257. doi: 10.1007/s11065-007-9038-6

Robb-Nicholson, C. (2013). Ask the doctor: Why does alcohol affect women differently? – Harvard Health. Retrieved 13 December 2019, from

Sarkola, T., & Eriksson, C. (2003). Testosterone Increases in Men After a Low Dose of Alcohol. Alcoholism: Clinical & Experimental Research27(4), 682-685. doi: 10.1097/01.alc.0000060526.43976.68

Ziv-Gal, A., & Flaws, J. (2010). Factors That May Influence the Experience of Hot Flushes by Healthy Middle-Aged Women. Journal Of Women’s Health19(10), 1905-1914. doi: 10.1089/jwh.2009.1852