Excessive Alcohol Use and Risks to Men's Health

Men are more likely than women to drink excessively. Excessive drinking is associated with significant increases in short-term risks to health and safety, and the risk increases as the amount of drinking increases. Men are also more likely than women to take other risks (e.g., drive fast or without a safety belt), when combined with excessive drinking, further increasing their risk of injury or death.1-4

what is excessive alcohol use

Excessive Drinking Infographic

Drinking levels among men

  • Approximately 58% of adult men report drinking alcohol in the last 30 days.5
  • Approximately 23% of adult men report binge drinking 5 times a month, averaging 8 drinks per binge.6
  • Men are almost two times more likely to binge drink than women.6
  • Most (90%) people who binge drink are not alcoholics or alcohol dependent.7
  • About 4.5% of men and 2.5% of women met the diagnostic criteria for alcohol dependence in the past year.7

Injuries and deaths as a result of excessive alcohol use

  • Men consistently have higher rates of alcohol-related deaths and hospitalizations than women.1,8,9
  • Among drivers in fatal motor-vehicle traffic crashes, men are almost twice as likely as women to have been intoxicated (i.e., a blood alcohol concentration of 0.08% or greater).10
  • Excessive alcohol consumption increases aggression and, as a result, can increase the risk of physically assaulting another person.11
  • Men are more likely than women to commit suicide, and more likely to have been drinking prior to committing suicide.12-14

Reproductive Health and Sexual Function

Excessive alcohol use can interfere with testicular function and male hormone production resulting in impotence, infertility, and reduction of male secondary sex characteristics such as facial and chest hair.15,16

Excessive alcohol use is commonly involved in sexual assault.17 Also, alcohol use by men increases the chances of engaging in risky sexual activity including unprotected sex, sex with multiple partners, or sex with a partner at risk for sexually transmitted diseases.4

Cancer

Alcohol consumption increases the risk of cancer of the mouth, throat, esophagus, liver, and colon in men.18-20

There are a number of health conditions affected by excessive alcohol use that affect both men and women. Some additional conditions are covered in the Alcohol Use and Health Fact Sheet.

  1. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC). Alcohol-Related Disease Impact (ARDI). Atlanta, GA: CDC.
  2. Levy DT, Mallonee S, Miller TR, Smith GS, Spicer RS, Romano EO, Fisher DA. Alcohol involvement in burn, submersion, spinal cord, and brain injuriesexternal icon. Med Sci Monit 2004; 10(1):CR17–24.
  3. Naimi TS, Brewer RD, Mokdad A, Clark D, Serdula MK, Marks JS. Binge Drinking Among US Adultsexternal icon. JAMA 2003; 289(1):70–75.
  4. Nolen-Hoeksema S. Gender differences in risk factors and consequences for alcohol use and problemsexternal icon. Clinical Psychology Review 2004;24:981.
  5. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. Behavioral Risk Factor Surveillance System data. Atlanta, GA: CDC.
  6. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. Chronic Disease Indicators. Atlanta, GA: CDC.
  7. Esser MB, Hedden SL, Kanny D, Brewer RD, Gfroerer JC, Naimi TS. Prevalence of Alcohol Dependence Among US Adult Drinkers, 2009–2011. Prev Chronic Dis 2014;11:140329.
  8. Minino AM, Heron MP, Murphy SL, Kochanek KD. Deaths: final data for 2004pdf icon [PDF 3.37MB]. National Vital Statistics Report, Volume 55, No. 19, August 21, 2007. Hyattsville, MD: CDC National Center for Health Statistics.
  9. Chen CM, Yi H. Trends in alcohol-related morbidity among short-stay community hospital discharges, United States, 1979–2005pdf iconexternal icon [PDF 1.78MB]. Bethesda, MD: National Institutes of Health, National Institute on Alcohol Abuse and Alcoholism. NIAAA Surveillance Report #80, 2007.
  10. National Highway Traffic Safety Administration. Traffic Safety Facts 2006pdf iconexternal icon [PDF 990KB]. Washington, DC: U.S. Department of Transportation, National Highway Traffic Safety Administration, National Center for Statistics & Analysis. DOT HS 810 818, 2008.
  11. Scott KD, Schafer J, Greenfield TK. The roles of alcohol in physical assault perpetration and victimizationexternal icon. J Stud Alcohol 1999;60:528–536.
  12. Hayward l, Zubrick SR, Silburn S. Blood alcohol levels in suicide casesexternal icon. J Epidemiol Community Health 1992;46(3):256–260.
  13. May PA, Van Winkle NW, Williams MB, McFeeley PJ, DeBruyn LM, Serna P. Alcohol and suicide death among American Indians of New Mexico: 1980-1998external icon. Suicide Life Threat Behav 2002;32(3):240–255.
  14. Suokas J, Suominen K, Lonnqvist J. Chronic alcohol problems among suicide attempters—post-mortem findings of a 14-year follow-upexternal icon. Nord J Psychiatry 2005;59(1):45–50.
  15. Adler RA. Clinically important effects of alcohol on endocrine functionexternal icon. Journal of Clinical Endocrinology and Metabolism 1992;74(5):957–960.
  16. Emanuele MA, Emanuele NV. Alcohol’s effects on male reproductionexternal icon. Alcohol Research and Health 1998; 22(3):195–201.
  17. Abbey A. Alcohol-related sexual assault: A common problem among college studentsexternal icon. J Stud Alcohol Suppl 2002;14:118–128.
  18. American Cancer Society. Alcohol Use and Cancerexternal icon. Atlanta, GA: ACS.
  19. Donato F, Tagger A, Chiesa R, Ribero ML, Tomasoni V, Fasola M, et al. Hepatitis B and C virus infection, alcohol drinking and hepatocellular carcinoma: a case-control study in Italyexternal icon. Hepatology 1997;26(3):579–584.
  20. Baan R, Straif K, Grosse Y, Secretan B, et al. on behalf of the WHO International Agency for Research on Cancer Monograph Working Group. Carcinogenicity of alcoholic beveragesexternal icon. Lancet Oncol 2007;8:292-293.