We all know that smoking causes cancer, lung and heart disease, and stroke. But smoking causes other problems specific to women and their health, such as:
- Decreased bone density
- Rheumatoid arthritis
- Gum disease
- Lower surgery survival rates
- Menstrual problems
- Earlier or more difficult menopause
- Breathing difficulties
And women who smoke often have a tougher time quitting than men. But research is starting to find tips specific to women that can help you quit successfully.
When you’re ready to quit, wait until just after the end of your period. Research suggests that women who stop smoking 15 days after or before menstruating have more success than those who quit at other times in their cycle. Why? It may be that PMS aggravates withdrawal symptoms, such as irritability and depression.
Remind yourself that a little weight gain isn’t the worst thing that can happen to you. You may put on 5 pounds or a little more when you kick the habit, but those extra pounds tend to disappear within a year of quitting. Plus, you’ll still be healthier than you were when you were smoking.
Don’t try to diet while you’re trying to quit smoking. That extra deprivation is a surefire ticket to failure. Focus on eating three healthy meals a day and limiting snacks. Drink plenty of water, too.
Women in general tend to seek and appreciate support when going through a tough time. Whether it’s leaning on a spouse, partner, or friend, or participating in an online forum for ex-smokers, reach out and know you’re not alone in your struggle.
You may want to try nicotine replacement therapy, such as the nicotine patch, gum, or nasal spray. You may need to try more than one option before figuring out which method works best for you. You can also talk to your doctor about prescription cessation aids, such as Zyban or Wellbutrin. Both can be used with nicotine replacement products to boost the likelihood of success.
Try to get in a fast walk, a brisk swim or even an exercise class to help you stave off nicotine cravings and also burn excess calories.
Quitting the smoking habit is one of the best things you can do for your health. And if you are a pregnant smoker, check out these tips to quit smoking when you are expecting.
If you’re looking for a women’s medical practice that can help you achieve your overall health goals, call Chouchani, Sayegh and Bagnarello M.D. today.