How smoking affects menopause and tips for quitting

You probably know by now that smoking is not good for your health. It has a particular effect on menopause, so if you’re still a smoker you can learn some tips to quit.

What’s the link between smoking and menopause?

Smoking is linked to an earlier onset of menopause (1). A study conducted with over 93,000 women in the United States found that smokers had more difficulty getting pregnant and experienced menopause one to two years earlier than non-smokers. Women who experienced frequent passive or secondhand smoke shared a similar risk to smokers.

During perimenopause, smoking can trigger certain symptoms— like hot flushes. When you quit smoking, there are many aspects of your health and wellbeing that will be benefitted.

Benefits of quitting smoking

  • Less stress: while withdrawal symptoms from smoking can make you feel stressed, this will pass.  Non-smokers report feeling less stressed.
  • Improved blood flow: better blood flow leads to more enjoyable sex—really!
  • Better skin: the appearance of your skin gets better upon quitting smoking, and will become less dry.
  • Whiter teeth: non and ex-smokers report having pearlier teeth and better breath than smokers

Tips to quit smoking 

Quitting smoking, another item on the list of things you have to worry about during menopause? It may seem like a burden, but we’re here to help, and so is the NHS.: 

  • Make a plan: setting a date can help you stick to it, as can keeping track of how many days you have gone without smoking. Quitting with a friend can also help you hold each other accountable.
  • Get support from the NHS’s smoke free telephone helpline on 0300 123 1044, open Monday to Friday, 9AM to 8PM and Saturday to Sunday, 11AM to 4PM.
  • Drink, food, and location choices may affect your desire to smoke. Avoiding circumstances that you associate with smoking will reduce your desire to have a cigarette.
  • Keep a symptom diary, which will help you make connections between smoking and symptom triggers. This will help with gaining more motivation to quit.
  • See your GP. They can offer nicotine replacement or medication (like Champix) to help with cravings.

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