Drinking and reproductive dysfunction among women in a 1981 national survey

Alcohol Clin Exp Res. Sep-Oct 1984;8(5):451-8. doi: 10.1111/j.1530-0277.1984.tb05700.x.


This paper presents the first data available on drinking and reproductive dysfunction from a representative national sample of women. In this stratified household sample of 917 women (weighted n = 2552), dysmenorrhea, heavy menstrual flow, and premenstrual discomfort increased with drinking level and were particularly strongly associated with reported consumption of 6 or more drinks a day at least once a week. Women who consumed 6 or more drinks/day at least 5 times a week had elevated rates of gynecologic surgery other than hysterectomy, but hysterectomy was less common among women averaging 2 oz or more of ethanol/day, with age effects controlled. Lifetime rates of obstetric disorders showed significant elevations at upper levels of drinking (6 or more drinks/day at least 3 times a week for miscarriage or stillbirth and prematurity, and 6 or more drinks/day at least 5 times a week for infertility and birth defects). An unexpected finding was the high rates of menstrual disorders, hysterectomy, miscarriage or stillbirth, and prematurity among temporary abstainers (women reporting alcohol consumption in the past 12 months but not the past 30 days) who had previously drunk only infrequently.

Publication types

  • Research Support, U.S. Gov't, P.H.S.

MeSH terms

  • Adult
  • Alcohol Drinking*
  • Alcoholism / complications*
  • Female
  • Fetal Alcohol Spectrum Disorders / etiology
  • Genital Diseases, Female / etiology*
  • Genital Diseases, Female / surgery
  • Humans
  • Hysterectomy
  • Infant, Newborn
  • Infertility, Female / etiology
  • Menstruation Disturbances / etiology*
  • Pregnancy
  • Pregnancy Complications / etiology*