The dangers that smoking can have on our health have long been known. What many people don’t realise, however, is the link it has to infertility. This article will take you through the dangers of smoking, including how it might affect fertility.
According to the NHS, smoking can affect fertility. It has been found that smoking, including passive smoking, can “affect your chances of conceiving and also reduce semen quality”.
Unfortunately, it is not possible to know if you are experiencing any of the above problems which is why if you have been struggling to conceive it is important to seek professional help to get to understand if there is a fertility problem. Fertility tests and assessments include fallopian tube testing, which looks to see if damage or blockage to the fallopian tubes is interfering with conception, Ovarian reserve testing which looks at the “female fertility potential” ie how long you have left to have a baby along with other tests as indicated.
In terms of semen quality, male fertility tests are also available; they help to see if poor sperm quality is interrupting conception.
As mentioned previously, passive smoking (also known as secondhand smoke) is also harmful and might also affect fertility.
Passive smoke is the smoke that you unintentionally inhale when around cigarettes – breathing in this secondhand smoke can be just as harmful as smoking a cigarette itself.
No matter their gender, if your partner is a smoker, they might be harming their and your chances of being able to conceive.
There are many factors that can affect fertility, which is why there is no direct answer to this question. However, if you are looking to get pregnant or currently have trouble conceiving, quitting smoking is a great place to start.
Quitting smoking will be beneficial to your overall health. It usually takes around four weeks for withdrawal symptoms to alleviate, and within just one year of quitting, your risk of suffering from a heart attack halves.
Stopping as soon as possible will be a very sensible decision, but as a general rule of thumb, most people quit around four months before trying to get pregnant.
There are over 50 health risks associated with smoking, meaning even if you aren’t trying to conceive, trying to stop should be a top priority.
According to the NHS, smoking is responsible for 7 out of every 10 cases of lung cancer. Not only this, but it can also cause cancer in other areas of the body, including the mouth and bowels.
Smoking can also damage your heart and blood circulation, increasing the risk of developing serious conditions like coronary heart disease. It also causes havoc with your respiratory system, linking to problems like asthma and recurring colds.
It’s all well and good knowing how important it is to stop smoking, but we can’t ignore the fact that it is an addiction. Your body is addicted to the nicotine in cigarettes, making it extremely challenging to quit. With that in mind, however, it’s not impossible.
With the right help and guidance, you can quit this habit for good and get your health back on track.
What’s important to remember is that you don’t have to go on this journey alone. Your doctor will be equipped with a lot of tactics to help you quit smoking, including prescribing medication or signing you up to support clinics.
If both you and your partner smoke, agreeing to quit together will help. Quitting together allows you to support and motivate each other, rather than lure each other back into temptation. Doing it together will also minimise the risks associated with secondhand smoke.
There is a lot of online resources available to help your quitting journey, including the NHS’ Better Health hub. Here, you will be able to find a series of guides and information on addiction.
When trying to quit smoking, always remember the reason why you’re doing it. Whether looking to improve your health, increase your fertility chances, or protect an unborn child, keep these “goals” in mind at all times. This should help you to stay on track and see the bigger picture.
If you’ve been struggling with fertility for quite some time and have made good progress with your quitting journey, it might be time to reach out to a fertility expert. Smoking addictions can increase the chances of needing fertility treatment like IVF, which is something we offer at Fertility Plus.
Do not hesitate to get in touch to discuss your concerns and options further. We are here to help, no matter the circumstances.