A new study suggests that second hand smoke may boost infertility risk by 20 percent and force women into menopause two years earlier. The research also revealed a statistically significant link between infertility and early menopause and smoking.
Women who inhale large amounts of tobacco by either smoking it themselves or by being exposed to passive smoke can reach menopause one to two years earlier than those that were never exposed to tobacco.
Women that actively smoke or used to smoke saw their risk of becoming infertile rise by 14 percent. Passive female smokers saw their infertility risk jump 18 percent as compared with non-smokers.
The study, which was recently published in the journal Tobacco Control, was based on data on nearly 80,000 women with the average age of 64.5 who had been enrolled in the Women’s Health Initiative Observational Study, a federally-funded 15-year-long clinical investigation. All study participants were at menopause by the time they entered the study.
Study participants were also asked about smoking habits, infertility, and the age of menopause onset. All women underwent ‘natural’ menopause, which means that they didn’t undergo surgery to have their ovaries removed and that they were period-free for at least 12 straight months.
Smokers were asked to provide info on the amount of tobacco used on a daily basis, the age when they smoked their first cigarette, and for how long they continued the habit. Non-smokers were asked whether they were exposed to second hand smoke in their childhood and adult years and whether they had to cope with second hand smoke at their workplace.
About 13,000 participants provided fertility data as well during the investigation, and of these women 15 percent said they struggled with infertility for at least a year. Researchers found a clear association between tobacco exposure and upped risk of having troubles to conceive.
The research also revealed that smoking raised the risk of reaching menopause before age 50 by 26 percent. The age was considerably earlier in women that smoked or used to smoke than in non-smokers and passive smokers.
Women who had lived with a smoker for more than a decade as a child, more than two decades as an adult, and more than a decade with co-workers that smoked saw their risk of infertility jump by 18 percent. On average, this group also went through menopause earlier by 13 months.
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