New research shows that ex-smokers have fewer and less severe hot flashes than women who continue smoking during menopause.
The study revealed that women who had not smoked for over five years were highly less likely to have severe or even frequent hot flashes compared to women who were still smoking. And women who had never smoked were shown to have even less symptoms than the other two categories of women, according to GMA News.
“While the effect was strongest if women quit at least five years before the onset of menopause, even women quitting later did have a better outcome than women who continued to smoke,” lead author Rebecca Smith, a researcher in epidemiology at the University of Illinois, said. “I hope that this encourages women to quit smoking, the earlier the better.”
According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) smoking is the leading cause of avoidable deaths in the U.S. People who smoke have a dramatically increased risk of heart disease, stroke and lung cancer. The CDC also added that smoking may also contribute to other cancers in the body.
Earlier studies have already linked smoking to more intense hot flashes, which is what led Smith and colleagues to pursuing finding a link between hot flashes and women who had quit smoking.
The study followed 761 women ages 45 to 54 for seven years. When the study began, 347 women were already experiencing hot flashes. Data also showed that only 39 percent of the women who had never smoked had hot flashes compared to the 52 percent of ex-smokers and 62 percent of women who were still smoking.
The group of women who were current smokers were most likely to have symptoms on a daily or weekly basis.
Even with the data collected, the author realizes that the study cannon conclude that smoking causes or worsens hot flashes. But they added that their study is in line with previous ones that showed smoking could interfere with hormones, neurotransmitters and other mechanisms linked to hot flashes.