Besides many other benefits of not smoking, researchers have discovered that menopausal women who do not smoke have less frequent and milder hot flashes. The paper was published in the journal Maturitas.
When they stop menstruating women go through menopause. This usually happens between 45 and 55. Because the ovaries no longer produce progesterone and estrogen women can experience night sweats, hot flashes, insomnia, vaginal dryness and mood swings. The lead author of the study, Rebecca Smith from the University of Illinois, observed that previous studies often connected worse hot flashes with smoking and she wanted to check whether this connection is visible in the case of women who are ex-smokers.
The research involved 761 women with ages between 45 and 54 who were monitored for seven years. When the study began 347 of the participants suffered from hot flashes. Among the women who never smoked 39 percent had hot flashes. In the case of ex-smokers 52 percent had hot flashes and among current smokers 62 percent.
The group with current smokers was the one most likely to show symptoms daily or weekly. 47 percent of the participants in this group had moderate to severe hot flashes. In the case of ex-smokers only 36 percent of the participants had moderate to severe hot flashes. In the group of never-smokers only 22 percent had moderate and severe hot flashes and only 10 percent of them experienced hot flashes daily or weekly.
The findings of the research indicate that unlike never-smokers current smokers were four times more likely to experience hot flashes. However compared to current smokers women who had quit smoking had 37 percent lower chances of experiencing hot flashes and 22 percent less chances to have severe or frequent menopause symptoms. In addition quitting smoking with at least five years before menopause was linked with 14 percent decreased chances of having severe hot flashes and 19 percent reduced frequency.
Researcher in obstetrics and gynecology Ellen Freeman from the University of Pennsylvania in Philadelphia was not involved in the study, but commented on it:
“To my knowledge, this is the first study to show that stopping smoking in mid-life can reduce hot flashes. It is never too late to quit, and quitting may reduce other health risks that are even more serious than the hot flashes.”
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