Females are at a lower risk of developing cardiovascular diseases, stroke and breast cancer, especially when they menstruate, due to the protective effect of the sex hormones estrogen and progesterone. Menopause is a natural process and is characterized by end of regular monthly periods in females, which in turn is linked with the change in the estrogen and progesterone balance.
Can Smoking Bring on Early Menopause?
A systemic review and subsequent meta-analysis of data for various research studies conducted over the past 20 years have indicated that smoking can affect the natural production of estrogen (a sex hormone produced by the ovaries) and induce premature menopause in females. While natural menopause is different from surgical or induced menopause, which may occur due to damage to the ovaries from treatments like radiotherapy, it is apparent that menopause is linked with the increased health hazards. Here are some of the effects of smoking and premature menopause on health,
- Premature menopause is associated with higher risk of developing cardiovascular disorders
- Premature menopause is also linked with obesity and a host of comorbidities like osteoarthritis, dermatitis, etc
- Premature menopause is often associated with increased prevalence of strokes
- Premature menopause is also associated with higher risk of osteoporosis and frequent fracture of bones
While premature menopause is attributed to change in the hormonal balance, smoking tends to amplify the effects of premature menopause in females.
While there are various studies conducted, most of these studies are associated with some form of limitation, which makes it difficult to correlate smoking with menopause. However a general assessment does indicate that smoking can result in premature menopause by almost a year. However most of these studies continue to be speculative and more detailed assessment is required.
How to Stop Smoking
There are different techniques to stop smoking, however a strong will to give up smoking plays a very crucial role. Some of the techniques that have been tried and tested include,
- Hypnosis: While research studies and reviews have not been able to correlate the benefits of hypnosis with quitting smoking, it has been very useful to some people. While hypnosis may not work in isolation, it is a useful technique when used along with other techniques of quitting smoking.
- Acupuncture: Another technique that has been considered to benefit quitting, acupuncture involves stimulating certain select nerves in the body, to help the body overcome the desire to smoke. Important acupuncture points for quitting smoking are located in the ears.
- Nicotine patches: Nicotine patches are considered to be the most effective techniques of quitting smoking. However there is a considerable amount of argument that nicotine patches don’t have a lasting effect and once a person stops using them, his/her desire to smoke returns. A strong will is very important to give up smoking.
Other techniques that have been considered useful include atropine and scopolamine combination therapy, homeopathic and herbal medications and yoga and meditation.