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Smoking and Tobacco

Smoking

08/10/2005

Question:

I am wondering if smoking can cause menstrual cramps and irregular periods. My sister is having this problem and I am wondering if it is because she is smoking. She is 20 and before she started smoking she didn`t have these problems. Are they related?

Answer:

Thank you for your question. Smoking can definitely cause menstrual irregularities. Nicotine, the primary addictive agent in tobacco, can affect metabolism of estrogen. This can introduce an unbalance to the menstrual cycle. Many women who smoke have an earlier menopause, when compared to non-smokers. Also, women who smoke report more menstrual cramping than non-smokers. Whether smoking actually causes the cramps is uncertain, but there is an association.

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Response by:

Mary Ellen Wewers, PhD, MPH Mary Ellen Wewers, PhD, MPH
Professor of Health Behaviors & Health Promotion
College of Public Health
The Ohio State University