Smoking is a bad habit that has negative effects on your health and there are countless reasons why you should quit. Here’s one more – women who smoke experience more hot flashes as they transition through menopause. Scientists have conducted several studies which observed the effects of smoking on menopause symptoms , including hot flashes. Keep reading to find out how your bad habit can make hot flashes even worse.

Team of scientists led by Chrissy J Cochran from Division of Reproductive Biology, Department of Biochemistry and Molecular Biology at Johns Hopkins School of Public Health in Baltimore, Maryland conducted a research in which they wanted to investigate cigarette smoking, androgen levels, and hot flashes in midlife women.

The study included 362 women with hot flashes and 266 women without hot flashes, who weren’t postmenopausal. All participants were between 45 and 54 years of age, living in Baltimore and the surrounding counties with at least 3 menstrual cycles in the previous 12 months.

Researchers evaluated participants through questionnaires and blood samples for hormone measurements.

Results of the study were published in the journal Obstetrics and Gynecology. Scientists revealed that compared with never-smokers, current smokers had significantly higher androstenedione levels, higher androgen-to-estrogen ratio, and lower progesterone levels. Furthermore, the odds of experiencing hot flashes were higher in former and current smokers vs. never smokers.

According to authors of the study, cigarette smoking is linked with hot flashes through a mechanism that may not involve some changes in hormone ratios. In fact, scientists behind this study suggest that the effect is probably a more direct stimulatory action of nicotine on the nicotinic receptors in thy hypothalamus.

Both white and African-American smokers have more hot flashes

Samantha Butts, MD, of the University of Pennsylvania Perelman School of Medicine also conducted a study about the connection between smoking and hot flashes. Her study included about 300 women who were followed for a decade as part of a larger menopause research. About half the participants were white while half were African-American. The participants were still menstruated when entered the study and they either entered menopause or completed it over the 11 years of research observation.

Researchers questioned women about their lifestyle, symptoms, reproductive history, and they also took blood samples.

Findings of this research were published in the Journal of Clinical Endocrinology & Metabolism and they showed that women who had 1 or more of 5 gene variations associated with metabolism of estrogen and susceptibility to environmental toxins like cigarette smoke had more hot flashes than women without these variations. Results also showed that African-American smokers were 84% more likely to experience hot flashes than African-American non-smokers. Also, white smokers were 56% more likely to experience hot flashes than white non-smokers.

Managing hot flashes

While hot flashes usually can’t be avoided, it doesn’t mean you can’t do anything to manage them and make them more bearable. Here is what you can do:
• Quit smoking – first, you should quit smoking for your health in general. Second, you had the opportunity to see that several studies have associated smoking with hot flashes and menopause is the perfect time to ditch the bad habit to embrace healthy lifestyle.
Relieve symptoms with supplements – there is a wide range of supplements on the market that are formulated to relieve menopause symptoms. One of these supplements is Newphase Complete; made of natural ingredients (calcium, Vitamin D, Vitamins B6 and B12, soybean, red clover etc) that supply your body with substances which allow you to fight the symptoms that occur with menopause like hot flashes, insomnia, night sweats, irritability, anxiety and fatigue.
• Keep cool – by dressing in layers so that you can remove piece of clothing when you feel warm, use a fan, open windows, lower thermostat, sip on a cold drink.
• Relax – stress can also trigger hot flashes and you should come up with your unique routine for stress management e.g. meditation, deep breathing, reading, it can be anything that you find soothing.
• Lose weight – if you’re overweight or obese then losing weight might help decrease the severity of hot flashes.
• Avoid triggers such as heat, cigarettes (as mentioned above), spicy foods, alcohol, caffeine and caffeinated beverages, tight clothing etc.

Several studies confirmed that women who smoke have higher chances of experiencing hot flashes and they may also be more severe than in non-smokers. This is one more reason why you should quit that bad habit and start living a healthy life.


Author's Bio: 

Margaux Diaz is a social development worker who spends her free time pondering and writing about Health and Fitness. She resides in the Philippines with her family and works for many organizations. She loves gathering information from various sources regarding Health and Fitness. She is an inspirational writer who strongly believes in the power of self-motivation. Connect with her on Facebook and Twitter