New research has come to light that shows that women are actually more likely to die from taking ecstasy than men are. This is because of the biological differences between men and women, namely female hormones.
One of the most common – and most dangerous – side effects of taking ecstasy is hyponatremia. This condition develops when ecstasy causes the body to hold on to too much water. The problem is exacerbated by the fact that those who take ecstasy tend to drink more water because they feel excessively thirsty.
Where the problem occurs in women is that the estrogen they produce has an effect on their cells' ability to get rid of this excess water. When the body cannot, there is the potential for brain damage as cells in the body – including the brain – continue to swell. If too much ecstasy is ingested, then the odds of hyponatremia becoming fatal increase exponentially, especially if a woman's body experiences more difficulty in filtering out the excess water.
One of the main problems with taking ecstasy is that it is often impossible to know just how much is being taken at one time. Sure, the user may be only taking one or two pills, but how strong are those pills? There is no way to know. And in recent years, the strength of those pills has been trending toward being more potent, which may also explain the increase of female deaths as a result of taking ecstasy, as well as the increased likelihood that their bodies will react poorly to higher doses.
Something interesting that is done in the Netherlands and that can maybe eventually be employed here in the States is the idea of testing ecstasy. While ecstasy is still illegal in the Netherlands just as it is here, those who are going to take the drug can go to a testing facility (which is government funded) in order to have their ecstasy anonymously tested.
The goal is to reduce the number of users who die from taking the drug, which makes these testing facilities similar to those safe houses we have here in the U.S. that allow for moderated drug usage under supervised care.
Until something like that becomes the norm here, however, the best way to avoid suffering the effects of ecstasy is to just stay away from it, since we have no way of knowing how strong any given dose of it is. While this is not realistic, though, an alternative suggestion is that if a woman is going to take ecstasy anyway that she only take a half of a pill at one time. She should never take more than one pill at once.
While it would be ideal if no one took ecstasy anymore, there is no way to stop everyone at once. With that in mind, the goal then becomes reducing the number of people who may suffer a fatality as a result of opting to take the drug anyway that they otherwise know they shouldn't.