Smoking Linked To Early Menopause & More Hot Flashes

    A lit cigarette in a glass ashtrayThere are countless reasons why women who smoke should kick the habit for their health, but here’s a few more.

    Researchers have found that women who had one or more of five gene variations linked to the metabolism of estrogen and susceptibility to environmental toxins, like cigarette smoke, had more hot flash symptoms than women without the variants. This was especially true for African-American women.

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    Previous research has linked cigarette smoking to earlier menopause and worse symptoms, but a recent study is among the first to examine the impact of smoking and genes on hot flashes.

    Smoking & Earlier Menopause

    Women who smoke may hit menopause about a year earlier than those who don’t light up, according to a study that also notes an earlier menopause may influence the risk of getting bone and heart diseases.

    Non-smokers hit menopause between age 46 and 51, on average. But in all but two of the studies, smokers were younger when they hit menopause, between 43 and 50 overall.

    Both early and late menopause have been linked to health risks. Women who hit menopause late, for instance, are thought to be at higher risk of breast cancer because one risk factor for the disease is more time exposed to estrogen.

    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. Overall, early menopause is also thought to slightly raise a woman’s risk of death in the years following.

    Smokers Had More Hot Flashes

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