With increasing modernization and equality between the genders, yet another growing and harmful addiction is now mounting at a rapid rate and that is none other than smoking. Smoking amongst women is a very common scene especially in BPOs and IT sectors. Recent reports show that around 20% of women are regular smokers. So, it is about time that we shift our focus on health issues related to smoking for women.
From personal experience of being a victim of smoking for nearly 5 years which has already started affecting my health I would now like to bring to attention all the health issues related to smoking exclusively for women.
Effects on Menstrual Cycle
Smoking cigarettes shortens the follicular phase and also the luteal phase. What it basically means is that from the day your periods end till the beginning of the next menses cycle which occurs with ovulation shortens due to heavy and regular smoking resulting in irregular pattern of menstrual cycle. Smoking may also cause vaginal discharges, abnormal bleeding, spotting, and absence of periods (amenorrhea). Smoking makes the ovary toxic and also lowers the level of estrogen causing early menopause by two or three years compared to menopause in non smokers.
Studies show that smoking damages the air spaces in the lungs, the walls in the bronchioles and the alveoli losses its elasticity. It also inflames the lower airways of the lungs causing breathing problems, coughing and also non cancer diseases namely, chronic obstructive lung disease, chronic bronchitis and Emphysema.
The cells in the lungs may also grow abnormally causing cancer in lungs.
Smoking causes cancer
Cancer from smoking is a very widely advertized disease known to all. Nowadays, even cigarette packets come with a picture of lungs and a bold warning – ‘Tobacco causes cancer’. The “cancers” more correctly put apart from the one which I have already mentioned earlier are mouth, larynx, and throat, oral, breast, esophagus, urinary tract , kidney , pancreatic, vulvar and cervical cancer. A simple search on your favorite search engine will give you more details on each of these cancers and how smoking is related to it.
Chemicals and toxins present in tobacco make the cervical fluid toxic to sperms causing infertility. Research shows that decrease in ovulatory response, fertilization and implantation of zygote is also effected causing problems in conceiving among women smokers.
It is also recommended that women should not smoke during pregnancy and it may lead to compromise with the growing fetus. It may also cause miscarriages, prenatal death, still born child, low birth weight and several other problems related to the delivery of the child.
Nicotine in tobacco increase heart rate and high blood pressure. Carbon monoxide starts replacing oxygen and thus causes coronary heart disease, cardiac arrests, stroke and peripheral vascular disease. The higher number of cigarettes smoked and the longer cigarette is smoked increases the risk of getting a heart attack.
Pelvic Inflammatory Disease
Pelvic inflammatory disease (PID) happens due to inflammation of uterus, fallopian tubes and ovaries.
PID also causes scarring in the reproductive organs in women whose consequences may be infertility, ectopic pregnancy, chronic pelvic pain. It is 33% higher in smokers than in non smokers.
Osteoporosis is a disease which happens due to thinning of bone tissues, decrease in the density of bones making it fragile and weak. Smoking causes loss of bone which leads to osteoporosis.
The effects of smoking for women and the list of diseases are plenty, the prevention is simple; quit smoking. There are plenty of remedies, therapies and products readily available in the market to quit the biggest curable disease which is none other than smoking. May be we can make it a food for thought a lost list of diseases versus quitting smoking and leading a healthier life.
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