Need a reason to quit smoking? We’ll give you several. This dangerous habit has a significant impact on various parts of the body, including your urological health. While cutting out bad habits is never easy, understanding their impact is a great way to reignite your motivation to quit.
None of us want to be a statistic. Yet more than 16 million Americans fall into the category of having a smoking-related disease. With smoking ranking first in the list of preventable causes for death and disease, it’s high time that patients take this negative lifestyle choice seriously.
Below, you’ll find a few major urological conditions that are impacted by smoking, as well as the best approach to cutting the habit, and assuming a healthy lifestyle.
Urological Conditions Affected by Smoking
Whether smoking is the cause of your urological condition or an influencing factor, it’s proven to exacerbate many diseases. Some of the most common include cancer, infertility, and overactive bladder functions. Keep in mind that smoking’s impact isn’t limited to these common conditions. This is just a glimpse at how this one bad habit can negatively impact your urological health.
Smoking and Cancer
By now, the link between smoking and cancer is no surprise to anyone. However, knowing the statistics behind the risk factor often brings the truth of this statement home to our patients. Bladder and Kidney cancer are two common forms of cancer urologists diagnose and treat. Both of these have their own unique risk factors, but one thing they have in common is the significant increase in risk among patients with a smoking habit.
According to multiple kidney cancer cases recorded in the United Kingdom, an estimated 29 percent of men and 14 percent of women diagnosed with kidney cancer were cases caused by or linked to their smoking habits. Why? Because the chemicals in cigarettes enter the bloodstream, which is then filtered by your kidneys.
But your kidneys aren’t the only organs touched by these chemicals. For bladder cancer, the impact of smoking is just as significant. In fact, smoking tobacco is the most common risk factor, with patients who smoke becoming 4 to 7 times more likely to develop this form of cancer.
At this point, it is estimated that more than half of bladder cancer cases in men and between twenty to thirty percent of cases in women are caused by the effects of smoking. Like kidney cancer, this is due to the harmful chemicals and drugs that are packed into cigarettes.
As we stated previously, these chemicals enter your bloodstream only to be filtered out by your kidneys. Like all other waste the kidneys remove, these chemicals then get ejected from the body through your urine. As this happens, they come in contact with the lining of the bladder, which is what increases your risk of developing bladder cancer.
Erectile Dysfunction and Infertility
Wondering why things aren’t working the way they should “down there”? The problem might start with your smoking habit. Erectile Dysfunction (ED) and Infertility both can be triggered by your lifestyle habits, including smoking.
Smoking can trigger ED through the manner in which chemicals damage the blood vessels in your system. The effects of this damage includes reduced blood supply to the penis, which is essential to gaining and keeping an erection.
You don’t have to be older to experience ED either. Smoking’s impact on your sexual health can occur in any patient who smokes. In fact, smoking is the leading cause of ED in most young patients.
So what about fertility? Even if smoking hasn’t led to erectile struggles, you may still find that your sexual health is compromised. The risk of infertility doubles for both male and female patients who smoke. Why? The chemicals your body takes in while smoking directly impacts the genetic makeup of eggs and sperm, the overall health of the uterus, and the produce of hormones that are crucial to achieving a successful, healthy pregnancy.
Smokers experience reduced success from vitro fertilization as well as an increased chance of miscarriage or birth defects. However, there is good news. Patients who quit smoking can reverse these effects over the course of a year.
Ready to Stop Smoking?
Infertility, cancer, and ED is only a small taste of the negative impacts smoking can have on your body. If you’re ready to quit, we highly encourage you to speak to your doctor about the best approach to cutting out the habit.
Like many addictions or bad habits, quitting can feel like an uphill battle. Don’t attempt to do so alone. Instead, seek out the support of your friends, family, and doctor. Together, you can receive the tools, support, and encouragement to kick the habit.
When you quit smoking, you’ll experience numerous mental and physical benefits, including improved respiratory function, increased energy, a longer lifespan, and improved quality of living.
Gulfshore Urology is a Urology Office located in Southwest Florida. We have locations in Naples and Bonita Springs. To set an appointment, please call 239-333-3200.