Surprising culprit behind menstrual cramp pain–and it’s one you can avoid

/Surprising culprit behind menstrual cramp pain–and it’s one you can avoid

Surprising culprit behind menstrual cramp pain–and it’s one you can avoid

smoke.jpgIf you get painful menstrual cramps, you’d probably do anything to make them go away. Well, if you’re a smoker or you spend your time around smokers, you could reduce your intense cramp pain by nixing cigarettes from your life.

That’s because numerous studies from research teams around the globe (such as thisthis, this and this) show that women who smoke cigarettes have a significantly higher likelihood of experiencing more intense and prolonged menstrual cramps. And a new study shows this is true even for “social smokers” who smoke as little as one cigarette per day.

Don’t smoke yourself but live with someone who does or spend a lot of time around a smoker? Breathing in someone else’s secondhand smoke could be contributing to your painful menstrual cramps, too, suggests this 2000 study in the journal Environmental Health Perspectives.

What’s the link between cigarettes and menstrual cramps? Researchers theorize that because nicotine narrows blood vessels, it restricts blood flow to the uterus, which results in more painful contractions during menstruation.

Need another reason to quit cigarettes or avoid those who use them? Smoking and being exposed to secondhand smoke increases your risk of fertility problems and experiencing early menopause, according to a 2015 study in the journal Tobacco Control. That’s because it reduces estrogen levels–which, p.s., is likely one more reason female smokers develop more facial wrinkles than nonsmokers.

Need help quitting smoking or helping a loved one quit? You don’t have to go it alone. Visit QuitNet or talk to your doctor or pharmacist.

[Photo: Ximena Salazar]

 

By | 2017-06-15T18:19:20+00:00 April 8th, 2016|health, hormonology tip, menstrual cramps, Week 1|0 Comments

About the Author:

Gabrielle Lichterman, founder of Hormonology® and a longtime women’s health journalist, pioneered the growing movement among women to live in sync with their menstrual cycles and know more about all the ways their hormones impact their moods, health and behavior. This movement was launched in 2005 with Gabrielle's groundbreaking book, 28 Days: What Your Cycle Reveals about Your Love Life, Moods and Potential, and her creation of Hormonology®. She offers a variety of tools--including her popular free Hormone Horoscope® app, eBooks, infographics, videos and tips--to share vital information about hormones.

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