Smoking and sexual health are connected. If you smoke regularly, you may experience a number of problems related to your sexual health.
Smoking can affect both men and women. It has long been recognised as a major risk factor for a myriad of health issues, including cardiovascular diseases and various cancers. However, one aspect often overlooked is its profound impact on sexual health. Smoking and sexual health are connected, and it can affect your libido, sexual performance, and fertility, says Dr Tanaya Narendra. When a person inhales cigarette smoke, they ingest chemicals such as ammonia, carbon monoxide, and hydrogen cyanide, which are responsible for such side effects on sexual health.
Popularly known as dr_cuterus, Dr Narendra, who often educates her audience on sex and related topics, has shared this on her Instagram page. She reveals why both women and men should quit smoking for the sake of their sexual health.
Check out the post here:
Select Topics of your interest and let us customize your feed.
6 side effects of smoking on sexual health
1. Erectile difficulties
Multiple studies have linked smoking to erectile dysfunction (ED) Dr Cuterus says that nicotine, the addictive component of cigarettes, restricts blood flow throughout the body, including the vessels that supply blood to the penis. This restriction can impede the ability to achieve and sustain an erection.
A study published in the American Journal of Epidemiology found that men who smoked had a 41 percent greater risk of erectile dysfunction than men who did not.
2. Breast health
Apart from being injurious for men, smoking also poses risks to female sexual health. “Smoking has been linked to increased breast sagging and a higher risk of breast cancer,” according to Dr Cuterus.
A study published in Breast Cancer Research found that smoking was associated with an elevated risk of developing breast cancer. In fact, the relative risk of it was greater for women with a family history of breast cancer.
3. Reduced sperm count
For men aspiring to become fathers, smoking may hinder fertility by reducing sperm count. According to a study published by Environmental Epidemiology, cigarette smoking can lower semen volume and total sperm count and higher sperm motility in fertile men, especially in heavy smokers. However, the detrimental effects of smoking on semen quality were not seen in men who had stopped smoking. Hence, quitting smoking is crucial if you are looking forward to family planning.
4. Impaired egg count and quality
Smoking isn’t just a concern for men, women also face fertility challenges due to tobacco use. Research published in the journal Fertility and Sterility suggests that smoking may accelerate the depletion of ovarian reserve, leading to a diminished egg count and compromised egg quality. This highlights the importance of quitting smoking for women planning to conceive.
5. Premature menopause
“Smoking has been linked to an increased risk of premature menopause in women,” explains Dr Cuterus. A study in the journal Tobacco Control found that women who smoke are more likely to experience menopause before the age of 50 compared to non-smokers. Premature menopause not only affects fertility but is also associated with various health risks, making it crucial to quit smoking for the sake of reproductive health.
6. Semen taste alterations
The way alcohol, coffee, tobacco, and other substances such as drugs are linked to contributing to smellier sweat, it may also affect your semen and vaginal fluids. Dr Cuterus says smoking can cause the flavour to become more bitter, sour, or pungent. This may be attributed to the various harmful chemicals present in cigarettes that affect bodily secretions, including semen.
How to quit smoking?
Here are some simple tips to help you quit smoking
- Share your decision with friends and family so that they can encourage you.
- Drink plenty of water to help flush nicotine from your system, and when you crave smoking, drink water.
- Remove cigarettes, lighters, and ashtrays from your room and house.
- Engage in regular exercise to boost mood and distract from cravings.
- Keep crunchy snacks like carrot sticks or nuts to satisfy oral cravings and avoid smoking.
- You may also install quit-smoking apps for tracking progress and receiving daily motivation.
- You can also keep chewing gum with you.
- Keep yourself occupied to reduce the likelihood of cravings to smoke.
Keep these side effects of smoking in mind, and quit smoking!