Smoking leads to earlier menopause (along with the other problems)

It’s been long recognised that smokers go through the menopause earlier than non-smokers, and a recent large study confirms this. The lead author is quoted as saying “‘General consensus is that earlier menopause is likely to be associated with the larger number and higher risk of postmenopausal health problems, such as osteoporosis, cardiovascular diseases, diabetes mellitus, obesity, Alzheimer’s disease, and others.”

Of course, smoking causes other problems such as cancer of the lung, mouth, nose, throat, oesophagus, pancreas, kidney, liver, bladder, bowel, ovary, cervix, bone marrow and stomach; and lung diseases such as chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD), which includes chronic bronchitis and emphysema; and poor blood circulation in feet and hands, which can lead to pain and, in severe cases, gangrene and amputation. Ouch.

Never too late to quit: according to the Quit website, “After fifteen years your risk of heart attack and stroke is close to that of a person who has never smoked.”

Some great sites on menopause

Not all websites are created equal… but here are some reliable ones by independent (read: non-commercial) organisations. – maintained by Jean Hailes for Women’s Health, a national not-for-profit women’s health foundation (and a close collaborator on our acupuncture for hot flushes study – we love them!) – website of the Australasian Menopause Society. Find a doctor that specialises in menopause, read factsheets and latest research, and find studies on menopause currently recruiting for volunteers (including ours!) – fact sheets on women’s health from the Royal Women’s Hospital in Melbourne

Don’t forget to check out our official study website if you live in Melbourne and are interested in taking part in a study on acupuncture for hot flushes

Treatments for hot flushes include HRT and electric fans