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Smoking (Tobacco) & Menopausal Hot Flashes

A newly published study has not only confirmed that smoking tobacco exacerbates menopausal hot flashes, but has also revealed that quitting can ameliorate hot flashes. Here is what the results showed:

  • Women who hadn't smoked for at least five years were 45% less likely to have severe or frequent hot flashes than current smokers (but they were still more likely to have symptoms compared to women who had never smoked).
  • Although the effect was strongest if women quit at least five years before the onset of menopause, even women quitting later did have a better outcome than women who continued to smoke.
  • Compared with current smokers, women who quit were 37% less likely to have hot flashes and 22% less likely to have frequent or severe symptoms.
  • Compared to women who had never smoked, the current smokers were four times more likely to have hot flashes.
  • Quitting at least five years before menopause was linked to a 14% reduction in the severity of hot flashes and a 19% reduction in their frequency, compared to quitting more recently.
The authors acknowledge that the study cannot prove that smoking causes or worsens hot flashes, but they note their results are in line with previous studies, and they speculate that smoking may interfere with hormones, neurotransmitters and other mechanisms that are also linked to hot flashes.

Take away message: for women, this is just another reason to quit smoking if you haven't already, and although the sooner you quit the better, it's never too late to drop the habit.

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Source: Does quitting smoking decrease the risk of midlife hot flashes? A longitudinal analysis

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