Alcohol and your body

Alcohol is quickly distributed to your liver, brain, kidneys, and lungs by the bloodstream. Your liver will take an average of one hour to break down a unit of alcohol. The amount of alcohol you consume can vary depending on:

  • Your weight
  • your gender
  • Your age
  • How quickly does your body convert food into energy?
  • How much food have you eaten?
  • Alcohol strength and type
  • You should tell your doctor if you are taking any medication.


You will feel the effects of drinking alcohol faster if you are underweight. This is because there is less tissue in your body to absorb alcohol.


Children and adolescents are typically smaller and lighter than adults. Alcohol can have a rapid impact on them. Even small amounts of alcohol are harmful to children and young people whose brains are still forming.

As you age, your body changes. Your body has changed as you age. You have more body fat and less body water. It affects the way your body processes alcohol. You will feel the effects of drinking the same amount as you did in adulthood. People who consume too much alcohol in their older years are more likely to suffer from physical and mental problems, including:

  • stroke
  • Heart disease
  • cancer
  • confusion
  • dementia


Alcohol affects women faster than men. Women have a smaller body mass and less tissue than men.

The body of a woman has more water and less fat than that of a man. When a woman drinks the same amount as a man, her blood alcohol content is higher. The woman will feel the effects of alcohol longer and more quickly.

Women’s blood also retains alcohol for longer. Women have lower levels than men of an enzyme that breaks alcohol down.

Alcohol affects women more quickly during and before their period. Contraceptive pills can have the opposite effect, causing alcohol to stay in the body longer. In this case, a woman may drink more than they realize before feeling the effects.


The stomach absorbs 20 percent of the alcohol, and your small intestine absorbs the remainder.

A small amount of alcohol can increase your appetite by increasing the flow of stomach acids. Alcohol can dull your appetite and cause malnutrition.

Too much alcohol can cause a stomach ulcer. It can occur when gastric juices are stimulated and mixed with alcohol, irritating the stomach lining.


Alcohol widens blood vessels when it enters the bloodstream. This can cause:

  • Blushing occurs when there is an increased flow of blood at the skin’s surface
  • A temporary feeling of warmth
  • Heat loss and rapid drop in body temperature
  • A drop in blood pressure


Alcohol can dull the brain parts that control your body’s functions. It affects the way you act and how well you can make decisions. Alcohol can affect your mood, making you feel angry or depressed.

Your body and behavior will change as the alcohol concentration in your bloodstream increases. After a few drinks, you might feel more relaxed and happy.

  • slur your words
  • Blurred vision
  • Lose your coordination

It is not possible to stop drinking immediately. Your body takes time to process alcohol. You are likely to find that your bloodstream is high in alcohol the morning after a night of heavy drinking.

It is possible that you are not sober enough or safe enough to drive. The amount in your blood, urine, or breath measures the legal limit of alcohol for driving.


Alcohol is a diuretic, and it increases the production of urine. It would be best if you urinated frequently when you drink alcohol. Dehydration and thirst are the result.


Inhale alcohol that is fizzy. Alcohol enters your bloodstream quickly from your lungs.


Your liver converts 95 percent of the alcohol you consume into water and carbon monoxide. Your liver converts alcohol to water and carbon dioxide. Your liver is only able to oxidize 1 unit of alcohol per hour.

If you are drinking on an empty stomach or a full stomach, it is best to avoid drinking.

Alcohol will enter your bloodstream if you drink it on an empty stomach. Alcohol absorption is slowed but not stopped if you eat before drinking.


Alcohol mixed with fruit juice or water is absorbed more slowly. Alcohol mixed with mixers or fizzy drinks is absorbed faster.

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