8 Ways Drinking Alcohol Affects Your Health

Drinking alcohol is one of the main forms of entertainment and social engagement in the modern world. As acceptable as it is to have a few beers with friends, if you’ve ever had a hangover, then you know there’s a fine line between getting a good buzz and overindulging. However, the effects of drinking too much are much more damaging to your body than you may think. Here are some ways that alcohol affects your health.

Dries and Damages Your Skin

Lots of people suffer from dry skin and the cause is not always sun exposure. In fact, one of the most common causes of dehydration is alcohol intake. Additionally, when you drink, your blood vessels dilate, bringing more blood to the surface of your skin and making it appear red or blotchy. Over time, dehydration will cause you to develop fine lines and wrinkles, making you look older than your age.

Irritates Your Gut

When you drink alcohol, the acids in your stomach are diminished, making it difficult for your body to digest food and allowing harmful bacteria to thrive inside your gut. Heavy drinking is known to irritate the intestinal lining preventing your body from absorbing vital nutrients. Alcoholism is also linked to stomach ulcers, irritable bowel syndrome, and colon cancer.

Damages Your Esophagus

Excessive alcohol intake is directly linked to vomiting, as your body tries to expel the substance before it poisons your system. Frequent vomiting can cause acid burn in your esophagus because your stomach acids are also coming up into your throat. Symptoms of acid burn can include chronic coughing, bleeding, and severe sore throat.

Prevents You From Getting Quality Sleep

The link between alcohol and sleep is complex and can affect your entire body in a negative way. While having a few drinks may help you fall asleep quickly, you’ll wake up as soon as the effects wear off, which could be in the middle of the night. Excessive drinking leads to sleep disorders like insomnia, which causes an increased risk of major depressive disorders, heart disease, and other health problems.

Reduces Your Sexual Pleasure

While drinking lower inhibitions, often leading to casual sexual encounters, the truth is that excessive consumption actually decreases performance between the sheets. In men, overindulging lowers testosterone levels, reduces libido, and causes erectile dysfunction. In women, it causes dehydration which contributes to lower lubrication, sexual discomfort, and delayed orgasm.

Additionally, heavy drinkers are more likely to gamble in sexual situations, leading to irresponsible behavior like having unprotected sex, spreading venereal diseases, or risking an unplanned pregnancy.

Impairs Your Memory

Whether you drink heavily for one night or many years, your actions can lead to severe lapses in your memory. Getting blackout drunk can make you forget the events of an entire night, while alcoholism and addiction can deprive you of large blocks of time and ultimately lead to permanent memory loss or dementia.

Affects Your Fertility and Pregnancy

Long-term alcohol intake can lead to infertility in women and impotency in men. Drinking during pregnancy could have devastating effects on your baby’s development, including:

  • Birth defects
  • Learning disabilities
  • Cognitive problems
  • Poor muscle movement and balance
  • Behavior disorders
  • Growth disorders

Impairs Your Self Control

Because alcohol depresses the central nervous system, it acts as a sedative in the body, slowing your motor function and decreasing your reaction times. Therefore, it is incredibly dangerous to drink and drive or perform other kinds of activities where you need control of your faculties. Too much alcohol impairs your judgment, reasoning skills, and your ability to make appropriate choices for yourself.

If you enjoy a drink or two occasionally with friends or family or as part of an indulgent meal, then your health is not likely to be in danger of one of the problems on this list. However, if you’re a heavy drinker suffering one or more of these symptoms, then you may want to speak with your doctor about alcohol-related illness.

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