December 4, 2010

How smoking can wreak havoc with the female reproductive health

Everyone has heard that smoking is bad for your health.  How many women know that smoking cannot only be dangerous to the health in general, but it can also be dangerous to your reproductive health?  A number of illnesses and diseases can arise as a result of women smoking.  The real danger that most people are aware of is the big “C” or cancer.  Statistics show that women in general are more prone to cancer than are men, but many women continue to smoke regardless of the statistical evidences.

Oral Contraceptives and Cigarette smoke don’t mix well

One danger that many are not aware of is the use of oral contraceptives and smoking.  Smokers who use oral contraceptives or hormone based contraceptives have a higher likelihood of suffering strokes, heart attacks, and blood clots that can result in death.  This reaction is so dangerous that women smokers over the age of 35 are told they should not take oral contraceptives.

Smoking can harm the unborn baby

Everyone has heard that smoking while pregnant is not a good thing.  The main points in this area is in low birth weight, premature delivery, still birth, placenta previa, and miscarriage.  There are some who speculate that of the number of miscarriages each year those due to women smokers outnumber those who do not at almost a 2 to 1 ratio.  The effects of the chemicals and drugs in cigarettes on the children directly after birth should give pause.  The babies will be racked with the same symptoms as adults undergoing withdrawal from the nicotine addiction.  There is a statistical connection to children’s sickness and smoking mothers (while pregnant).  There are more ear infections, more colds, more flu like symptoms, and more recurring illnesses in general from children whose mothers smoked while pregnant than with children whose mothers were non-smokers during pregnancy.

Infertility in women – A major consequence of smoking

There is a direct connection to smoking and infertility in women.  In fact, the recorded rate of infertility among smokers is more than 3 times as high as in non-smokers.  Recent studies show a decrease rate in ovulation in smokers causing a higher rate of infertility in these women.  Even implantation of the sperm to the egg in the act of fertilization is impaired in women who smoke.  If you plan to have children in the future, you should seriously think about quitting smoking before trying to get pregnant.  If you do not quit prior to attempting pregnancy, realize that you are increasing the chances of inability to conceive.  As stated above, if you do become pregnant the chances of a spontaneous abortion or even a life threatening condition are highly increased.

Other reproduction related problems caused by nicotine

There are a number of toxins in cigarettes aside from the nicotine.  These toxins can cause many problems with your reproductive health.  They can impair your ability to become pregnant, or they can impair you ability to maintain a healthy pregnancy to full term.  There is some evidence that suggests that many birth defects can be laid at the door of a smoking pregnant mother.  If you are planning on quitting prior to becoming pregnant, then you should give your body a chance to cleanse these toxics before you begin your attempt.  To be on the safe side, you should probably quit smoking for at least a year prior to attempting pregnancy to ensure your body is free of these toxins.

Early menopause can be a direct outcome of smokers who started early

Many women begin smoking while in their teenage years.  This has been linked to early menopause.  Smoking alone has shown to cause menopause two to three years earlier than in non-smoking counterparts.  Those who begin smoking as teens increase their risk of early menopause by 300%.  Smoking significantly decreases the estrogen levels in the body of smokers, thus promoting early menopause, and irregular periods.  These reduced levels can be part of the cause of infertility, early menopause, missing periods, vaginal infections and discharges and other menstrual problems. 

Many women dream of being a mother, but they do not realize that their reproductive health can be compromised by smoking.  Many women might not be swayed by the risk of cancer, but some are more deeply affected by knowing that they might being snuffing out their dream of bearing children the next time they light up.

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