Have you continued smoking during your menopause journey? Smoking effects our hormones, which can lead to early menopause. It can also make menopausal symptoms worse. If you’re smoking and want to quit, read on for our top tips.
Smoking and early menopause
There have been numerous studies exploring the link between smoking and early menopause. It has been reported that heavy smokers are more likely to experience menopause 18 months earlier than women who do not smoke. Passive smokers are also affected. Women who have been exposed to second-hand smoke, i.e. women who live with a heavy smoker, can go through menopause earlier than non-smokers. The reason? Nicotine reduces circulating oestrogen levels causing oestrogen levels to fall faster. This reduction can lead to early onset menopause.
Smoking and menopause symptoms
Smoking has been linked to worsened menopausal symptoms such as hot flushes. 75% of menopausal women experience hot flushes which can affect women for an average of 5 years during menopause. Both current smokers and those with high BMIs are likely to have more frequent and more severe hot flushes than those who do not smoke. The exact link between smoking and greater hot flushes is unknown. The hypothesis is cigarette smoking increases the risk of hot flushes through the lowering of endogenous oestrogen concentrations in the body. It has been suggested that stopping smoking for 6 weeks can help improve this side effect.
How to quit
If you need help to quit smoking, there are plenty of resources that can aid you to kick the habit for good. The NHS offers free Local Stop Smoking Services (LSSS) that can boost your chances of quitting for good. Staffed by expert advisers LSSS offers information, advice and professional support during the first few months of quitting. You can download the free NHS Quit Smoking app where you can track your progress, see how much money you’re saving and seek extra support. There are also stop smoking treatments available. Speak to your GP or NHS stop smoking adviser for advice on what treatment might be right for you. We wish you luck with your smoke-free journey.