Smoking and Women’s Sexual Health

by Dr Antonio Howell, MD

in quit smoking

The 3 Week Diet

It’s important that every woman protects her health and well-being. Quitting smoking is an essential part of keeping yourself healthy and is greatly recommended by physicians to lessen the risk of serious health conditions later in life. Some of the common health issues in women linked to smoking includes infertility, cancers, osteoporosis, etc. But have you wondered what could be the possible effects of smoking to a woman’s sexual health?

WomanLike men, women who smoke suffer from short term consequences of smoking such as yellow teeth, bad breath, and premature sagging of skin, and these are all observed early in life. Research even suggest that females are more likely to suffer from nicotine addiction than men because of poor metabolic function. Female smokers are also twelve times at risk of dying from lung cancer and has an increased risk of laryngeal, pharyngeal, pancreatic, bladder and kidney cancers.


But unlike men, you can suffer from more health issues that are unique to women due to smoking. These includes:

Vaginal Odor

It is common for female smokers to experience unusual vaginal bleeding and discharge, increased occurrence of secondary amenorrhea, and irregularity or absence of menstrual periods. And what could be more troubling for most women than to smell something unusual down there? And this can be due to smoking. Tobacco use or cigarette smoking increases your risk of Bacterial Vaginosis (BV). It is caused by the magnified growth of the normal vaginal bacteria, Gardnerella Vaginallis. The common symptoms are irritation or pain near the vagina, and the discharge has a pungent fishy odor. Smoking is among the possible reasons for BV aside from unprotected sex. Though it can be diagnosed and treated through a short course of antibiotic with a primary care of your physician, it can still be very troubling and bothering especially if you have an active sex life.


Sexual (Dys)Function

Do you find it hard to reach orgasm when you used to enjoy the pleasure of it? Smoking might have something to do with it. One of the immediate effects of nicotine in your body is that it restricts the normal blood flow in your body, which in effect hampers your full sexual function. As your arteries become stiff and blocked the blood flow in the labia, clitoris and your vagina becomes restricted. As a result, sexual intercourse becomes less pleasurable as arousal and sensitivity is affected.


Other adverse effect of smoking to women’s sexual health includes decreased fertility, miscarriage, and premature birth, and neonatal death.


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