gender – differences based on biology
Gender – differences based on culturally defined roles between men and women
Scientists who study substance use have found that women who use drugs have problems with hormones, menstrual cycles, fertility, pregnancy, lactation, and menopause. In addition, women identify unique reasons for using drugs, such as weight control, combating fatigue, coping with pain, and trying to self-medicate mental health problems.
Science has also discovered that:
Women use substances differently than men, such as using smaller amounts of certain drugs before becoming addicted.
Women can react differently to substances. For example, they may become addicted to more drugs and relapse after treatment.
Sex hormones make women more sensitive than men to the effects of certain medications.
Women who use drugs have a greater effect on the heart and blood vessels.
Brain changes in women who use drugs are different than in men.
Women are more likely to go to the emergency room or die from certain substance overdoses.
Women exposed to domestic violence are at increased risk of substance abuse.
Divorce, loss of custody, or the death of a partner or child can trigger substance abuse or other mental health problems in women.
Women who use certain substances are more likely to experience panic attacks, anxiety, and depression.
Drug use during pregnancy and lactation
Drug use during pregnancy poses both short-term and long-term health risks for the woman and her baby. Most drugs, including opioids and stimulants, can harm an unborn baby. The use of certain substances can increase the risk of miscarriage and can cause migraines, seizures and high blood pressure in the mother, which can affect the fetus. In addition, the risk of stillbirth is 2-3 times greater for women who smoke cigarettes or marijuana, use prescription painkillers, or use illegal drugs during pregnancy.2 Studies show that women who use marijuana during pregnancy are of concern to health professionals. . The American College of Obstetricians and Gynecologists (ACOG) believes that marijuana can lead to low-birth-weight babies, especially for women who use marijuana regularly in the first and second trimesters. ACOG recommends that pregnant women and women who wish to become pregnant discuss medical marijuana use with their health care providers before stopping use, and for healthier options for their babies. 4 Pregnant women should consult with their health care provider before use. any drug or substance.