Ahh -- ladies night! Whether you're uncorking a bottle of nice wine at a girlfriend's, sipping craft beer at a local pub, or clinking martini glasses at your favourite hotspot, a night out with your friends includes the usual gossip and giggles. But does it include binge drinking? How many drinks does it take to "binge", anyway? The short answer is: fewer than you might think!
Following the Low Risk Alcohol Drinking Guidelines lowers the risks (health and otherwise) associated with alcohol consumption. For women who aren't pregnant or attempting to get pregnant, the Guidelines suggest we drink no more than two standard drinks on most occasions and no more than 10 drinks a week. You should also have at least one alcohol-free day per week. And before you get any sneaky ideas about saving up those daily drinks so you can have 10 on Friday, sorry - it doesn't work that way!
Also, did you know that 50% of pregnancies are unplanned? Many women don’t expect to get pregnant, so have no idea that they are pregnant in the early stages. Yikes! So, you already plan for a safe ride home on your ladies night; plan on using an effective method of birth control and practicing safer sex in the event you take a different type of ride at the end of the night.
By avoiding binge drinking, you lower your risk of short-term icky stuff like getting sick, tripping over your heels, losing your phone or making a poor decision (collective groan). Drinking in moderation also lowers the risk of long-term grief like chronic diseases such as a heart attacks, cancer, or liver disease.
Next time you're out with the girls, keep in mind what a standard drink is and that the places serving you don't always sell alcohol in standard servings (I’m talking about you, Ms. 9 oz glass of wine!).
Author's Bio: Haley Miller is a manager at the BC Ministry of Health. Part of her work portfolio is reducing the harms related to alcohol, and part of her downtime is researching for her work. Thanks for contributing as a guest blogger, Haley!
Author’s Note: This post was originally published July 10, 2013 and was updated September 8, 2015 to ensure accurate and up to date information.