Abhimanyu Sharma had been smoking for close to a year when he noticed that the passion in his love life was at an all-time low. “I’d begun to find sex boring.” he says “I no longer felt like having sex and tried avoiding it as much as possible. On the few occasions that I did have sex, I would get out of breath easily and end up exhausted. It had started impacting my relationship with my girlfriend.” Luckily for Abhimanyu, he noticed the warning signs and decided to do something about it. He stopped smoking, started working out and eating healthy, and soon enough his love life woes were a thing of the past.
You probably know that smoking increases your risk of getting cancer and heart disease, but did you know that it also makes it difficult to have an erection, negatively affects fertility and promotes certain sexual diseases?
Here are a few ways in which smoking can harm your sexual and reproductive health:
1. Smoking impairs sexual performance
Smokers are twice as likely to develop erection problems
Smoking just one cigarette can negatively impact erection. Sexual arousal requires good blood circulation, but several chemicals in cigarettes constrict the blood vessels, leading to a significant decrease in erectile performance. The high instance of smokers among sufferers of erectile dysfunction shows that there is a direct correlation between tobacco consumption and erection problems. Epidemiological studies suggest that smokers may be twice as likely to develop erection problems as non-smokers. Some studies show that erection problems in regular smokers increase by as high as 40%. Circulation problems in women can also lead to reduced sexual arousal and vaginal dryness. What’s more, given that circulation problems is the main physical cause of erectile dysfunction, erectile problems can be a warning sign of broader cardiovascular illnesses in the future.
2. Smoking leads to a loss of libido and faster climax
Trouble in bed? Cigarettes could be the reason
Smoking affects the testosterone level in both men and women. Smoking cigarettes increases carbon monoxide levels in the body which inhibits the production of testosterone, ultimately bringing down the libido. Studies have also shown that the average ejaculation time for a smoker is very less as compared to that of a non-smoker.
3. Smoking affects fertility
Smoking severely impacts fertility in both men and women
The negative effects of smoking are not limited to arousal and erection problems alone. Smoking also reduces fertility in both men and women, makes it harder to conceive and negatively impact the chances of having a healthy pregnancy. Men who smoke have a lower sperm count, slow-moving sperm and abnormalities in sperm shape and function. In women, smoking accelerates the loss of eggs and speeds up infertility. Cigarette smoke also interferes with the ovarian cells’ ability to make estrogen and leads to more eggs with genetic abnormalities.
4. Smoking aggravates PMS and could speed up menopause
Studies show that non-smokers hit menopause between the ages of 46 and 51 years, on average, but smokers hit menopause between the ages of 43 and 50 years.
Smoking could bring on early menopause
Research suggests that smoking increases the risk of developing moderate to severe premenstrual syndrome (PMS). Studies show that smokers were twice as likely to have premenstrual symptoms such as backaches, bloating, breast soreness and acne. They were also more likely to have irregular periods. Women who smoke also go through menopause earlier than non-smokers. Early menopause is associated with several health risks such as osteoporosis, diabetes and Alzheimer’s disease.
5. Smoking increases the risk of certain sexual diseases
Smoking tobacco is known to be associated with immunological changes and an increased risk for certain infections
Smoking increases your risk of contracting certain sexual diseases
Many different illnesses such as sexual infections, or Peyronie’s disease, an abnormality of the penis, can be activated or aggravated by tobacco. Researchers from John Hopkins Medicine have found a link between exposure to tobacco and the sexually transmitted human papillomavirus type 161. This virus is commonly believed to increase the risk of mouth and throat cancers.
The damaging effects of smoking on health are well documented, and it’s clear that it can wreak havoc on your sexual health as well. Although sexual health problems do not generally affect life expectancy, they can significantly impact overall health. Smoking has a direct, negative effect on sexual health, which over a period of time can complicate your relationships as well. Fortunately, if you quit smoking, your sexual health is likely to improve, just one among a whole host of health benefits from quitting smoking. Take that first step, and work towards a quit plan that’s right for you.