Intended for healthcare professionals

Practice Lesson of the week

Lower abdominal pain in women after binge drinking

BMJ 2007; 335 doi: (Published 08 November 2007) Cite this as: BMJ 2007;335:992
  1. M D Dooldeniya, specialist registrar in urology,
  2. R Khafagy, specialist registrar in urology,
  3. H Mashaly, staff grade in general surgery,
  4. A J Browning, urology consultant,
  5. S K Sundaram, urology consultant,
  6. C S Biyani, urology consultant
  1. Pinderfields Hospitals, Wakefield, West Yorkshire WF1 4EE
  1. Correspondence to: M D Dooldeniya modool{at}
  • Accepted 25 April 2007

Consider alcohol related pathology in women who present with lower abdominal pain

Alcohol misuse is costing the NHS up to £3bn (€4.4bn; $5.9bn) a year—with over 28 000 hospital admissions caused by alcohol dependence or poisoning.1 This is small compared with the annual cost to employers, which is estimated at £6.4bn, but it excludes the hidden costs in terms of alcohol related crime and social problems. The resulting use of hospital facilities places a considerable financial burden on the NHS; inpatient costs alone accounting for 2-12% of total NHS expenditure on hospitals.1 In terms of pathology it is estimated that there are 22 000 premature deaths each year caused by problems related to alcohol. The heaviest burden is on accident and emergency departments. Around 40% of such admissions are alcohol related, and this increases to 70% after midnight.2

Women have now caught up with men in their alcohol consumption, with 86% of women compared with 91% of men consuming alcohol regularly.3 Health concerns that were initially raised about drinking habits in men now seem to affect women …

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