According to a new study from the Roswell Park Cancer Institute, smoking and exposure to secondhand smoke can cause pregnancy troubles and early menopause. Andrew Hyland and a team of his colleagues surveyed the known effects of smoking and secondhand smoke in pregnancies and took a closer look to how it affects menopause and infertility.
Women Exposed to Smoking Have A Higher Chance of Entering Menopause Before 50
The research results not only showed that women exposed to smoking had more trouble getting pregnant, but also that they were more likely to enter menopause at an earlier age. Previous research wasn’t too clear on the effects of secondhand smoke on pregnancy and menopause. Hyland and his team decided to analyze data from the Women’s Health Initiative Observational Study. This study was conducted between 1993 and 1998. The 88,732 women, aged between 50 and 79, completed a series of questionnaires regarding menopause and infertility.
Of all the women surveyed, 15% qualified for infertility and 45% qualified for early menopause, which occurs before age 50. The reports declared that women who had been active smokers had a 14% higher chance of going through infertility. They were also 26% more likely to go through early menopause.
Smoking Also Has a Negative Effect on Menstruation
Another study published by the journal Tobacco Control took women between the ages of 18 and 23 for 10 years. More than 1/4 of the women were smokers, and they reported suffering from painful periods. The study split the women into four different groups. The normative group made up 45% of the women in the study. 11% were part of the late onset group, with 33% in the recovering. 14% of the women experienced chronic pain, which means having painful periods 70% or 80% of the time.
Women who were smokers were thus proven to have a higher risk of chronic painful periods. Women who started smoking before 13 had a 59% higher chance of suffering from chronic cramps. The risk was 50% higher for women who started to smoke in their mid-teens. Smoking also has an association to altered menstruation. Other studies suggest that smoking may even delay or stop periods completely, even for 12 months at a time in certain women.
Women Who Smoke Go Into Menopause 2 Years Earlier than Non-Smoker Women
According to the journal Tobacco control, women exposed to smoking had an 18% higher chance of having trouble getting pregnant and suffering early menopause. Women who had never smoked and were exposed to little amounts of secondhand smoke did not suffer these risks.
Does Smoking Cause These Problems Directly?
The data does not prove that smoking directly causes infertility or early menopause, but it does account for other factors that are linked to these problems. Hayland’s team also suggests that secondhand smoke may affect hormone levels in women that might spring early menopause though this is not entirely confirmed. Women who are or are planning to go through pregnancy should avoid smoking and secondhand smoking at all costs. This can cause some serious troubles for the baby, and it can also greatly harm mothers.
The effects of secondhand smoke on mothers is still vague. It’s likely that studies like this will be followed up by other research teams. The effect of e-cigarettes in pregnancy and fertility are less widely known. But as the vapor devices become more popular, they will be studied as well.