Intended for healthcare professionals

Research Article

Do women develop alcoholic liver disease more readily than men?

Br Med J (Clin Res Ed) 1981; 282 doi: (Published 04 April 1981) Cite this as: Br Med J (Clin Res Ed) 1981;282:1140
  1. J B Saunders,
  2. M Davis,
  3. R Williams


    The sudden increase in alcoholic liver disease among women in the past 10 years has caused much speculation that they may be more susceptible to the hepatotoxic effects of alcohol than men. Women tend to present with more severe liver disease, particularly alcoholic hepatitis, and do so after a shorter period of excessive drinking and at a lower daily alcohol intake. Differences in body size and composition are partly responsible for the greater susceptibility of women, but differences in immune reactivity between the sexes may also play a part. Greater emphasis must be placed on designing abstinence programmes specifically for female patients, on earlier detection of liver disease, and on educating women about hazardous drinking levels.