Alcoholic liver disease involves a spectrum of different issues, from fatty liver (a more mild situation) to cirrhosis, a form of irreversible liver scarring. It isn’t something that tends to happen with a few casual drinks each week. For liver problems like this to occur, especially in young women as is happening now, means someone is drinking a lot: in most cases, patients are having many, many drinks each day or regularly partaking in binge drinking. Women’s bodies process alcohol a bit differently than men’s, so liver issues can sometimes escalate more quickly for women.
It doesn’t take a statistician to recognize that this increase likely means that many more women are struggling with alcoholism or even just casual overdrinking that is going a bit too far for their bodies to take. How did we get here?
There’s no question that life can be immensely stressful for women in their 20s, 30s, and 40s. Everyday sexism, balancing family with nurturing careers, and the crushing expectation of “doing it all” leads to impossible standards. And of course, the pandemic has only heightened these stressors, with millions of moms attempting to homeschool their children for the first time while simultaneously working from home. The pressure, it seems, has given way to changing habits in alcohol consumption.