Smoking reproductive health
Smoking women can discover thousands of articles about smoking consequences such as damage of reproductive system (including female hormones), heart diseases, various cancers (lung, mouth, larynx, pharynx, esophagus, kidney, pancreas, kidney, and bladder) and respiratory diseases. But every smoking woman thinks “It is just general threatening information and if I smoke a little bit, nothing can happen”. What we know about smoking reproductive health?
Question is what real risk factors are for smoking women, what most common consequences are and how smoking can damage your reproductive health.
Each cigarette contains more than 4000 chemical elements and at least 400 toxic substances including cancerogenic elements which can trigger different types of cancer.
It is well known that smoking can damage women reproductive health. Very often smoking women experience menstrual dysfunctions and have trouble getting pregnant. Smoking women enter menopause much younger and experience more severe menopause symptoms. Smoking can be a cause of different types of problems during pregnancy – smoking can hurt both mother and baby. Smoking women are also at increased risk of having miscarriages and/or stillbirth.
During reproductive period of life smoking affects women appearance – smoking women have paler skin and more visible wrinkles. Main reason is reduced blood supply to the skin and lowers levels of vitamin A in smoking women.
Smoking women – Smoking reproductive health
Smoking reproductive health – female hormones
Smoking affects ovarian function and decreases the female hormone estrogen which is playing an important role in women reproductive functions (menstrual cycle, fertility, breast development, menopause, etc.)
Scientists discovered that reduced female hormones are responsible for women’s inability to quit smoking. It was noted that during different days of the menstrual cycle women’s ability to quit smoking is different. For example, women before ovulation (first phase of the menstrual cycle) have higher chances to quit smoking than after ovulation.
OVARIAN HORMONES PLAY AN IMPORTANT ROLE IN NICOTINE ADDICTION AND SMOKING CESSATION
Smoking reproductive health – Birth control pills
Every time you take your birth control pills or any hormonal contraception, you should remember that smoking women who use mentioned methods of contraception are at increased risk of developing cardiovascular diseases such as blood clots, heart attacks and strokes. Unfortunately this risk increases with age and in most cases smoking women are forbidden to use birth control pills or any other hormonal contraception after 35. Actually the smoking women age after 35 is a contraindication for most hormonal contraceptive methods.
It was noted that sometimes smoking women who use birth control pills are experiencing increased blood pressure.
Smoking reproductive health – Pregnancy
Health providers know that unfortunately about 10-20% of pregnant women continue smoking throughout their pregnancies – despite having detailed knowledge of the adverse effects of smoking during pregnancy, it is estimated that only 15-25% pregnant smoking women quit smoking once they become pregnant.
Scientific studies demonstrated that if woman continue smoking during pregnancy, she is putting herself and unborn baby at increased risk for complications. During pregnancy and smoking all tobacco elements (about 4000 toxic chemicals!) are passed from pregnant mothers through the blood stream to the fetus. All tobacco chemicals can trigger serious health problems both for pregnant woman and unborn baby. Pregnant smoking women could experience several pregnancy complications such as unexpected bleeding and/or miscarriage, baby hypoxia (lack of oxygen), reduced baby weight and premature birth with low-birth weight baby.
Smoking during pregnancy can also reduce the newborn’s lung function.
If you are smoking during breastfeeding, you should know that nicotine is found in breast milk, and therefore enters your baby’s body.
Many studies demonstrated that smoking during pregnancy increases the risk of so called “Sudden Infant Death Syndrome”, premature birth, stillbirth, placenta previa (the placenta grows too close to the opening of the uterus, a condition that often leads to Cesarean section), placental abruption (the placenta prematurely separates from the uterus wall), premature rupture of uterine membranes and preeclampsia (a condition that results in high blood pressure and excess protein in the urine).
Pediatricians noted that children born to smoking mothers experience more often colds, ear aches, respiratory problems and some other health problems including increased frequency of different types of allergy.
Smoking reproductive health – Infertility
Scientists discovered that “healthy” smoking women conceive much later (over one year) and fertility indicators are reduced in “healthy” smoking women. WHY?
It was already mentioned above that smoking is responsible for reduced production of female hormones (especially estrogens) which are responsible for normal regular menstrual cycles and mature ovulation. Reduced female hormones could be responsible for irregular periods and anovulatory cycles (menstrual cycles without ovulation). Absence of ovulation could be a serious reason for infertility in women.
Scientists discovered that tobacco toxic elements can also develop problems during fertilization and implantation of fertilized eggs. It was also noted that tobacco toxic elements may alter the cervical fluid, making it toxic to spermatozoids. Actually toxic cervical fluid could damage the sperm quality and prevent the possibility of the pregnancy.
It is important to highlight that nowadays more and more women postpone pregnancy after 35 and it is well known that fertility is decreasing after 35. If woman is smoking, her fertility after 35 is decreasing faster. Delayed childbirth and smoking are putting smoking women at a substantially greater risk of future infertility.
SMOKING WOMEN HAVE ABOUT 70-73% OF FERTILITY IF COMPARE WITH HEALTHY NON-SMOKING WOMEN OF REPRODUCTIVE AGE.
Smoking and tobacco toxic elements can be also responsible for gene mutations that can cause miscarriage, stillbirth, birth defects, cancer and other health problems in children.
Smoking reproductive health – Menopause
Smoking is responsible for tobacco toxic effect on women ovaries which provokes significant decrease of estrogens’ production. Reduced levels of estrogens trigger menstrual dysfunctions, abnormal uterine bleeding, oligomenorrhea (rare periods), amenorrhea (absence of periods and premature menopause.
Smoking women enter to menopause in younger age than non-smoking healthy women. At the same time smoking women experience more severe menopause symptoms for longer duration.
Earlier women start smoking, earlier they experience premature menopause. Smoking teenage girls are in higher risk for early menopause (three times).
Smoking women and Osteoporosis
Osteoporosis is a problem of aging women who naturally decrease slowly the estrogen production during menopause and post-menopause. In case of smoking women, levels of estrogen are decreasing during whole reproductive period. Smoking women are at significantly increased risk of bone loss and osteoporosis. Women who smoke about 15-20 cigarettes per day, experience a loss of bone density equaling 7-10% more than non-smoking women by the time they reach menopause. This is why all after 40 smoking women are recommended to make annual bone density scanning for determining the density of bones’ structure.
Regular physical activities and daily 1000-1500 mg calcium could reduce the risk of early osteoporosis in smoking women.
Smoking reproductive health – Pelvic Inflammatory Disease (PID)
Health providers discovered increased frequency of Pelvic Inflammatory Disease (PID) in smoking women. Unfortunately the clear reason for this is not clarified yet.
Pretty often PID can be the contributing factor in ectopic pregnancies, as well as pelvic adhesions and other fertility problems.
Smoking reproductive health – Cervical Cancer
It is well known that annual Pap-test is recommended for all women but for smoking women Pap-test is absolutely necessary test for cervical cancer prevention.
Several studies show that smoking could lead to the development of cervical cancer (4-5 times more often than in healthy non-smoking women).
It was discovered that some chemicals found in cervical tissue are similar to tobacco chemicals. It was suggested that tobacco chemical could weaken the ability of cervical cells to fight off infection and may create a potential breeding ground for abnormal cervical cells to multiply.
Health providers noted that smoking women with cervical cancer could have increased chances for remission and survival if they quit smoking.
Smoking reproductive health – Breast Cancer
The American Cancer Society published the results of a study in 1994 which indicated that breast cancer patients who smoke may increase their risk of dying at least 25% – a risk that increases with the number of cigarettes smokes per day. The possible risk of fatal breast cancer rises up to 75% for women who smoke two packs or more per day.
The good news is that if you quit now your potential risk of dying as a result of future breast cancer remains the same as for a non-smoking women.
Smoking reproductive health – Vulvar Cancer
Unfortunately the vulval cancer is also happening more frequently in smoking women. Scientists suggested that the main reason for it could be toxic reactions from tobacco elements.
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