Zee Media Bureau
Melbourne: Women who get into the habit of smoking at a tender age are exposed to a heightened risk of developing chronic period pain, according to a new study.
Starting to smoke soon after entering teenage can play havoc on a woman's health by increasing the risk of chronic dysmenorrhoea (extremely painful menstruation).
Smoking is known to constrict arterial blood flow, which could potentially cause the pain.
“Alternatively, it might have a direct effect on the hormones involved in menstruation, which may be particularly important before the onset of puberty and regular monthly periods,” noted one of the study authors Hong Ju from University of Queensland in Australia.
The researchers studied a large population sample of 9,000 women, all of whom were taking part in the Australian Longitudinal Study on Women's Health, from 1996 onwards.
In 2000, when the women were aged between 22 and 27, more than half of them (59 percent) were non-smokers and around one in four (26 percent) were current smokers.
One in four women said they regularly experienced period pain every month. The prevalence of period pain was slightly higher in current smokers than in non-smokers.
Some 14 percent of the women were categorised as the 'chronic' group, defined as a high prevalence of period pain of between 70 percent and 80 percent throughout the monitoring period.
Compared with women who had never smoked, current smokers who had started smoking by the age of 13 were 60 percent more likely to fall into the chronic group.
Therefore, smokers who go through severe menstrual pain must consider quitting the habit in order to save themselves of the self-inflicted pain.
The online journal Tobacco Control published the study.
(With Agency inputs)