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Smoking’s effect on women’s health

Smoking isn’t good for anyone, but for women, smoking can be especially dangerous because of the way it affects their reproductive health. Also, women seem to be more prone to the negative effects of smoking, like cancer and emphysema. Unfortunately, 23 percent of women in the United States smoke cigarettes despite the risks. The highest rate of smoking occurs in women between the ages of 18 and 44. Despite anti-smoking campaigns among teenagers, almost all new smokers are teenagers, over 1.5 million teenage girls smoke in the United States.

Smoking’s effect on women’s health: Contraception and Smoking

Women who use oral contraception or other hormonal birth control methods are often advised not to smoke. This is because it can be very dangerous to smoke while using hormonal birth control. When women smoke while using contraception, they risk serious consequences including increased risk of developing cardiovascular diseases such as blood clots, heart attacks, and strokes. This risk is increased in women over the age of 35.

Smoking’s effect on women’s health: Infertility

Infertility is a major problem in women. Smokers have a much higher rate of infertility and trouble getting pregnant then do nonsmokers. The effect is increased in women who smoke more than ten cigarettes a day. Smoking can cause:

  • Ovulation difficulties
  • Genetic complications
  • Damage to reproductive organs
  • Damage to eggs.
  • Increased risk of cancer and increased risk of miscarriag
  • Decreased ovulatory response
  • Decreased chance of implantation
  • Increased risk of ectopic pregnancy

Smoking’s effect on women’s health: Pregnancy

Smoking can cause damage to both the woman and the fetus if a woman smokes during pregnancy. Not only does smoking increase the risk of miscarriage and ectopic pregnancy, it can also cause developmental problems in the fetus. It increases the risk that the baby will be born early and underweight, and that he or she will have health problems at the time of birth.

Smoking’s effect on women’s health: Early Menopause

Women are born with all the eggs they will ever have. They do not produce more eggs during their lifetime. Smoking may decrease the total number of eggs a woman has in her ovaries, and cause the ovaries to age prematurely. The toxins in cigarettes can also change the DNA in the eggs. This premature aging can cause a woman to go through menopause up to four years earlier than she would have had she been a nonsmoker.

Smokers can also experience problems with menstruation. Abnormal bleeding, vaginal discharges, vaginal infection, and amenorrhea are complications of menstruation that can be caused by smoking.

Smoking’s Effect on Women’s Health: Pelvic Inflammatory Disease

Pelvic Inflammatory Disease (PID) is a painful disease of a woman’s reproductive organs. It is an infection usually caused by a sexually transmitted infection like gonorrhea or chlamydia. If it is not treated immediately, PID can lead to blockages and adhesions in the reproductive tract, leaving some women infertile. Smoking increases the risk of Pelvic Inflammatory Disease by 33% when compared to non-smokers.

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