January 1, 2016

Infertility and Early Menopause Linked to Smoking

smoking fertility

Data from over 88,700 women in the Women’s Health Initiative Observational Study indicate that those who smoked or were exposed to secondhand smoke (passive smokers) were more likely to have difficulty getting pregnant or enter menopause before age 50. Further, women who smoked as few as 100 cigarettes (5 packages) or more in their lives had a 14% greater risk of infertility and a 26% greater risk of going through menopause before they turned 50.  Even more alarming was the finding that women who were raised with a smoker in the house for 10 or more years or who lived with a spouse who smoked for 20 years, and even those who worked with smokers for 10 years or more were 18% more likely to have infertility than women who have never been passive smokers. This observational study suggests that toxins in tobacco products may play a role in both infertility and early menopause possibly by disrupting reproductive hormones like estrogen.

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Joseph A. Hill, III, M.D.

Joseph A. Hill, III, M.D. Board-Certified in Reproductive Endocrinology and Infertility