According to a study by the American Psychological Association, women are more likely get addicted to cigarettes quicker and have more of a difficult time quitting. If you took health class in high school, you know smoking damages your health. It’s no secret that the toxic chemicals used in cigarettes can cause serious harm to every organ in your body—including your reproductive organs.
We’ve all heard about the destruction smoking can bring to your lungs and heart, but what about your reproductive organs and other parts of your body? Here’s what you need to know.
1. Menstruation and PMS
A research study at the University of Massachusetts in Amherst found that women who smoke are more likely to experience irregular menstrual cycles, heavier cramps, and worsened PMS symptoms. Smokers are also found to have shorter periods than non-smokers. Research shows smoking has been linked to altering levels of estrogen, progesterone, testosterone, and other hormones that affect a woman’s health development.
Although your appearance is obviously not the most important reason of why you should stop smoking, you can add it to your list. Smoking has been known to cause baggy eyes, yellow teeth, premature aging and wrinkles, thinner hair, and other problems.
Women who smoke are at risk of negatively affecting their fertility—both the ability to get pregnant as well as the time it takes to get pregnant. Studies show women who smoke are 1.5 times more likely to take longer than a year when trying to get pregnant. Women who smoke have a higher chance of a premature pregnancy, child birth defects, a reduction in the child’s birth weight, or a miscarriage.
4. Early Menopause
Research shows long-time or regular smokers are more likely to experience early menopause as well as worsen menopause symptoms such as hot flashes, mood swings, and weight gain. On average, smokers begin menopause one to two years earlier than non-smoking women, according to Medical News Today.
5. Decreased Bone Density
Some studies show women who smoke after menopause have a lower bone density, which could increase the risks of arthritis. Symptoms include pain, stiffness, swelling, and decreased range in motion.
Smoking can increase the risk of a variety of cancers in both men and women. It’s a scary reality that smoking cigarettes contribute to at least 30% of all cancer deaths. According to a study in the late 1990s by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), female smokers’ lives were shortened 14.5 years compared to a non-smoker. Quitting smoking—especially at a younger age— increasingly reduces the risk of cancer that could lead to an early death.
There is still time to stop smoking. If you’re struggling, there are support groups and prescribed medications to help you along the way. Talk to your doctor to discuss your options.
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