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Effect Of Smoking On Women's Health

Dr. Ranjit Chakraborti

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Women smokers suffer all the consequences of smoking that men do such as increased of risk various cancers (lung, mouth, larynx, pharynx, esophagus, kidney, pancreas, kidney, and bladder) and respiratory diseases. Women who smoke are at higher risk for a number of serious health problems, including heart disease and lung cancer than women who don’t smoke. Smoking damages the airways and small air sacs in the lungs, and is related to chronic coughing and wheezing. What’s more, women smokers are 12 times more likely to die from lung cancer than women who do not smoke, and they’re ten times more likely to die from bronchitis and emphysema. While the lives of all women smokers are at risk, post-menopausal women and women on birth-control pills lead the pack in succumbing to smoking-related diseases that can go on to cause death. The risk of heart attack, stroke and other cardiovascular diseases in women is increased by approximately tenfold if they both smoke and use oral contraceptives. Women smokers who use oral contraceptives risk serious consequences including increased risk of developing cardiovascular diseases such as blood clots, heart attacks, and strokes. This risk increases with age and women over 35 who smoke should not use oral contraceptives. This effect is more marked in women over 45. The risk also increases with the number of cigarettes smoked and length of time smoked.

Women who smoke may have reduced fertility. Studies found that 38% of non-smokers conceived in their first cycle compared with 28% of smokers. And Smokers were 3.4 times more likely than non-smokers to have taken more than one year to conceive.

Smokers experience a greater prevalence of secondary amenorrhea (absence of menstruation), and irregularity of periods. Smokers are also more likely to experience unusual vaginal discharge or bleeding. Smoking causes women to reach natural menopause one to two years earlier than non-smokers or ex-smokers. Menstrual abnormalities and early menopause may be caused by a toxic effect on the ovaries.

Cigarette smoking contributes to osteoporosis, an increase in bone fragility that accompanies aging. Smoking reduces bone density, possibly through its effects on oestrogens.

Tobacco increases the risk for periodontal disease and oral cancers and also leads to chronic bad breath, teeth staining, increased tartar deposits, tooth loss and exaggerated wrinkling in the face.

Women who smoke cigarettes have a greater risk of developing cancers of the cervix and vulvar. For cervical cancer the relationship appears to be dose-responsive, with one study finding an 80% increased risk of developing the cancer among heavy smokers. It is estimated that 19% of cervical cancer and 40% of vulvar cancer is caused by smoking.

Smoking is linked to peripheral vascular disease, a narrowing and hardening of major blood vessels in the body. This can limit everyday activities such as walking.

Tobacco use accounts for nearly one-third of all cancer deaths. Tens of thousands of women will die this year from lung cancer, which has greatly surpassed breast cancer as the leading cause of cancer death among women. Almost 90% of these deaths will be due to women.

Not only does smoking increase the risk for lung cancer, it is also, it is also a risk factor of the- " Cervix " Mouth " Larynx " Pharynx " Oesophagus " Kidney " Bladder " Pancreas " Stomach

Smoking is also linked to some forms of leukemia. Environmental tobacco smoke (ETS) has also been shown to increase the risk of lung cancer.

Effect Of Smoking On Pregnancy and Newborn

Smoking is associated with a number of pregnancy complications. Smoking cigarettes doubles a woman’s risk of developing placental problems. These include: " Placenta previa " Placental abruption

Both can lead to heavy bleeding during delivery that can endanger both the mother and the baby. Smoking in pregnancy increases the risk of premature rupture of membrane. Smoking during pregnancy causes health problems for both mothers and babies, such as " Pregnancy complications " Premature birth " Low-birth-weight infants " Stillbirth " Sudden infant death syndrome (SIDS) Women who smoke during their pregnancy have an increased risk factor for many pregnancy complications. Some of the possible complications include: " Increased risk of an ectopic pregnancy " Increased risk of miscarriage or stillbirth. Smoking is believed to be responsible for 115,000 miscarriages a year and 5,600 stillbirths " Increased risk of placenta previa, a dangerous condition whereby the placenta covers the cervix " Increased risk of placental abruption. This is when the placenta separates from the wall of the uterus, denying all oxygen to your baby " Increased risk of preterm birth. Babies born prematurely can suffer more breathing problems and have long hospital stays among other health problems " Increased risk of apnea (breathing lapses) and Sudden Infant Death Syndrome (SIDS or crib death) in babies born to mothers who smoked or who were exposed to second hand smoke after birth " Greater chance of genetic defects, such as cleft palate or cleft lip " Increased vaginal bleeding A baby in the womb gets everytghing from its mother. Nutrients and oxygen come via the placenta and umbilical cord. Smoking not only exposes the foetus to toxins in tobacco smoke, but it also damages placental function. When a pregnant woman smokes, her blood and the child’s blood will contain less oxygen than normal. This can cause the foetal heart to rise as baby struggles to get enough oxygen. Babies born to mothers who smoke: " Are more likely to be born prematurely and with low birth weight " Have organs that are smaller on average than babies born to non-smokers " Have poorer lung function " Are twice likely to die from cot death " Are ill more frequently. Babies exposed to cigarette smoke in the womb, whether directly or from second-hand smoke, are more likely to be born with a low birth weight, shorter length and smaller head circumference. Being born too small is the major cause of infant illness and newborn death. Tobacco use reduces the birth weight of babies in direct proportion to the number of cigarettes smoked, with pack-a-day smokers 30% more likely to give birth to a low birth weight child than a nonsmoker.



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