5 menopause symptoms made worse by smoking

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Menopause Advisor
Ask Eileen

05 November 2018

Read the full video transcript below

Today's topic

Hello, and welcome to my weekly video blog. And today on A.Vogel Talks Menopause, I'm going to be talking about five symptoms that can be made worse by smoking.

How does smoking impact menopause?

Now, we know that issues such as drinking lots of coffee, eating sugary foods, and getting dehydrated can make menopause symptoms worse.

But did you know that smoking can do this as well? And a lot of women don't realise it. Now, whether you smoke yourself or you're in a household where others smoke, this could be impacting on your menopause symptoms.

Does smoking cause early menopause

One of the main issues with smoking is, especially if you've been smoking for a long time, is that it can trigger an earlier menopause, sometimes by even three or four years. So if that's not a good excuse to give up, then I really don't know what is.

5 symptoms that can be worse for smokers and those exposed to smoke

1. Hot Flushes

But the five symptoms are, first of all, hot flushes. The reason smoking can be so bad for our menopause symptoms is that it gives your nervous system a big hit. And this is one of the reasons that people smoke, they can feel a bit down, a bit tired, a bit lethargic.

And smoking can give you that little bit of energy. It can also calm you down a little bit, too, but that then triggers your nervous system. And once your nervous system is in full flow that can lead to hot flushes and sweats.

2. Anxiety

Anxiety is another one that can be made worse by smoking.  And I know, as I just mentioned that if people feel a bit anxious, they feel better and calmer by smoking, but the smoking, again, is revving up your nervous system, and it can make the next bout of anxiety worse or it can give you that feeling of anxiety a lot sooner than you would have normally experienced.

3. Mood Swings

Smoking can also cause mood swings.  Again, it's working on the nervous system, and it can give you a bit of a high. It can also give you that really big dip as well.

4. Poor Sleep

The other thing that smoking can do is it can impact on your sleep. It can just affect the way that you fall asleep and stay asleep as well.

5. Skin problems

And the other big issue for women is that it can affect your skin, and you know, really heavy smokers probably will find that their skin is a lot drier and a lot thinner than what other women's skin may be.

And the menopause affects our skin generally, so if you're smoking on top of that, it can really have a detrimental effect on the quality and the look of your skin.

Stopping smoking and menopause

Now, what can you do about this? It's not easy, and I know most women at some point will have tried to give up smoking in the past. And here we are, we're in the menopause, there's already lots of things going on.

We feel emotions more. We feel anxiety more. So all these mood symptoms can be exaggerated in the menopause, and that can give us more cravings for the cigarettes, which then again makes things worse. It can end up a real vicious circle.

So we know this is not easy to do, but there's lots of help out there for you.

Get support to help you quit

Now, In the UK, if you go on to the NHS website, there's loads of self-help tips, there's lots of programs at your local pharmacy for helping you to stop smoking. You can also look at local self-help groups. The library is a really good place to find lists of self-help groups, so they should be able to help you maybe find one in your area.

You can also look at maybe setting up a little group if there's a few of you that smoke. Is just to set up your own little self-help group, which sometimes at the end of the day can be more effective than when you're meeting up with strangers.

Support your nervous system

You need to support your nervous system. This is really important because very often, it's the anxiety that triggers the need for a cigarette. So look at making sure you're getting loads of B vitamins, a nice, high amount of magnesium, maybe 200 milligrams twice a day with food, can be a real nervous-system calmer. 

And you could look at our remedy AvenaCalm. The herb avena sativa is also known, sort of historically, to be a nice one to help with withdrawal and craving symptoms, so it's a good one to add into things like giving up smoking.

Curb your cravings

You need to curb your cravings, too, and unfortunately, we do know that giving up cigarettes can sometimes lead to sugar cravings.

Again, it's all about trying to feed and calm your nervous system. So here, it's really important to keep your blood sugar stable. Remember to eat little and often. Try and avoid sugary foods if you can. If this is a real stumbling block for you when you try and give up smoking, there's a supplement called chromium, which is supposed to be very good for keeping your blood sugar stable.

You can also look at our lovely flower essence Craving Essence and that's something, it's one of the lovely bottles that you can carry around with you, and you can use it every time you feel that you need to get that extra craving out the way. If you live in a household where others smoke, then maybe just have a little word with them to say that their smoking may be impacting on your moods in the menopause.

As I said before, this is a difficult one, but we do know that your symptoms can very often improve once you start to give up the smoking, so it's definitely worth a try. For those of you out there who've already done it, who've given up smoking, well done.

And maybe if you have any great tips to share, we would really love that, so leave your comments in the box below. Until then, I'll see you next week for another edition of A.Vogel Talks Menopause.

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