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Straight talk about alcohol

How alcohol affects your body

Brain

Drinking alcohol leads to a loss of coordination, poor judgment, slowed reflexes, distorted vision, loss of memory, and even blackouts.

Heart

Drinking alcohol could cause your blood pressure to rise, increase your heart rate, cause your heart to beat abnormally, and can increase the size of your heart.

Stomach

You're putting empty calories into your body,  which could cause weight gain. If you drink too much, you may vomit because alcohol is toxic. Drinking alcohol can also cause stomach ulcers and cancer.

Liver

Drinking alcohol could cause diseases such as cirrhosis (sir-o-sis). It can also cause hepatitis (inflamed liver) or even liver cancer, which weakens the liver's ability to clot and keep our blood free from poisons and bacteria.

Reproductive system

Heavy drinking can cause painful periods, heavy flow, discomfort before your period (PMS), and irregular periods (not getting your period when you're supposed to). Drinking also raises the risk of getting sexually assaulted and having unsafe sex.

 

Content last reviewed May 18, 2010
Page last updated October 31, 2013

U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, Office on Women's Health.

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