(NaturalNews) Are you a smoker who suffers from bad premenstrual syndrome (PMS) symptoms? If your answer is "yes", you may have one more reason to consider throwing the sticks away. A study at the University of Massachusetts in Amherst has found that women aged 27 to 44 years who smoke are two times as likely to get premenstrual syndrome over the following 2 to 4 years, in particular hormonally related symptoms such as backaches, bloating, acne and tenderness of the breasts.
Details and Findings of Study
Published in the American Journal of Epidemiology, the study looked at the data of 116,678 US registered nurses since 1989 from the Nurses' Health Study II. In gist, it found that women who were current smokers had 2.1 times the likelihood of reporting the development of PMS in the next 2 to 4 years, as compared to their non-smoking compatriots. And the intensity of the habit matters too; one other finding of the study was that the more one smoked, the greater the risk of developing such symptoms.
"Our findings lend further support to the idea that smoking increases the risk of moderate to severe PMS, and provides another reason for women, especially adolescents and young women, not to smoke," said Dr Elizabeth R Bertone-Johnson, the leader of the study.
Another interesting finding the study team uncovered was that ladies who started smoking during adolescence or young adulthood had even higher risk of getting the said symptoms. For example, those who picked up smoking before turning 15 had 2.53 times the likelihood of getting PMS.
And it may not be a simple matter of those who started earlier having smoked more in total, with the timing of picking up the habit perhaps really making a difference. "Our findings do not suggest that this is entirely due to the fact that women who start smoking at younger ages smoke for more years than those starting when they are older. Additional research on the impact of smoking at different times in women's lives is needed," said Dr Bertone-Johnson. So, if you are a smoker who started young, this is a piece of information you would want to be taking note of.
The Hormone Link
Broadly speaking, PMS symptoms are not very well understood by the medical community, although many believe the role of hormones to be significant. Pharmaceutical drugs which affect hormonal levels in the body, for example, can wreck havoc with a woman's menstrual cycle and also cause PMS symptoms.
And with smoking having been shown to affect certain hormone levels, the link is definitely there. "Previous studies suggest that smoking may alter levels of estrogen, progesterone, testosterone, and other hormones, many of which may be involved in the development of PMS. Some studies have found that smokers have shorter and more irregular menstrual cycles than non-smokers. Smoking may also lower levels of vitamin D in the body, which also may increase a woman's risk of developing PMS," added Dr Bertone-Johnson.
The study team noted another piece of research in 2005 which found that 26% of female 12th-graders had smoked on at least one of the previous 30 days. That is a significant proportion. Combine that with the findings of this study, and we could see smoking being a major cause of PMS symptoms in young ladies.
We already know about the long-term detrimental effects of cigarette smoking. Now, this study has uncovered a relatively short-term adverse impact on health. With the researchers having found that some 20% of women had bad enough PMS to affect their relationships and normal day-to-day activities, surely there is further impetus for female smokers to try to kick the habit.