A lot has been said and penned down on the ill effects of tobacco. The impact of tobacco on both male and female health is well known. Irrespective of the quantity or frequency of consumption, consuming tobacco can affect the lungs, heart, neck, mouth, throat and can even cause growth of cancerous cells. With prolonged consumption, more parts of the body can also begin to get affected.
While people do understand that smoking increases the risk for heart, vascular and lung disease, they do not realise that it can also lead to fertility problems in both men and women. Smoking also increases the chances of erectile dysfunction and pregnancy complications.
Chemicals like nicotine, cyanide and carbon monoxide speed up the loss rate of eggs, according to a US Food and Drug Administration report. Also, once eggs die they cannot regenerate or be replaced. This indicates that menopause occurs 1 to 4 years earlier in women who smoke, as compared to non-smokers.
Tobacco affects fertility
One of the ways tobacco affects fertility is by affecting hormonal production in females by affecting hypothalamus, thyroid, pituitary and adrenal glands. Tobacco consumption has been associated with higher levels of circulating androgens or male hormones such as testosterone in women.
It is said that women who smoke do not conceive as efficiently as nonsmokers. Infertility rates in both male and female smokers are about twice the rate of infertility found in non-smokers. The risk for fertility problems only increases with the number of cigarettes a person smokes daily.
Fertilisation processes like IVF may not be able to fully overcome the effect of tobacco consumption on fertility. Female smokers need more ovary-stimulating medications during IVF and at retrieval time, they still end up with fewer eggs.
Smoking can affect your baby
The American Society for Reproductive Medicine (ASRM) in a report stated that men whose mothers smoked half a pack of cigarettes (or more) in a day had lower sperm counts. Smoking during pregnancy also leads to restricted growth in the baby before birth.
Children born with lower-than expected birth weights are at higher risk for medical problems such as diabetes, obesity and cardiovascular disease. Children whose parents smoke are at risk of sudden infant death syndrome (SIDS) and developing asthma.
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