Cigarette smoking is most commonly associated with lung cancer and cardiovascular disease, but did you know it is closely linked with a number of urological conditions?
The toxic chemicals in cigarettes harm almost every organ in the body, including the urinary system and reproductive organs. Today, smoking is one of the largest preventable causes of disease and death in the world.
While quitting smoking is very important for your overall health, it is especially important for your urological wellbeing, in particular for preventing urological cancers. When the toxic chemicals from cigarette smoke are absorbed into the lungs and travel through to various parts of the body in bloodstream, they cause irrevocable damage. Let’s take a look at some of the urological impacts of smoking.
Smoking is a prevalent risk factor for bladder cancer, with studies showing that smokers have triple the risk of developing bladder cancer compared to nonsmokers. When cigarette smoke is inhaled, around 60 different carcinogens are taken into the body, many of which have been observed in the urine of smokers. When a chronic smoker quits, the risk of bladder cancer drops dramatically and continues to fall for up to 25 years.
Kidney cancer develops when abnormal cells in the kidney start to mutate and grow uncontrollably and more rapidly than normal cells. Apart from some links with genetic factors, the most prevalent risks for developing kidney cancer are lifestyle-related, with smoking being a major one, particularly prolonged smoking. According to studies, tobacco smoking is classified as a risk for cancer in all areas of the renal upper tract: kidney, ureter, and renal pelvis.
Prostate cancer is typically a very slow growing disease, and will not present any symptoms until it is at an advanced stage. And while the exact cause of prostate cancer is elusive, exposure to toxins such as those in cigarette smoke is a key factor. Studies have shown that smoking contributes to inflammation of the prostate, increasing the risk developing cancer.
Smoking is also closely linked with erectile dysfunction. Erectile function is a highly vascular process, and nicotine prevents arterial blood flow to the penis, which disrupts the process responsible for the erection of the penis.
Smoking has also been linked with infertility in both men and women. Of course, smoking has always been strongly discouraged during pregnancy, with countless studies showing the potential damage it can cause unborn children. It had also shown to have an adverse affect on fertility in women and cause menstrual disorders, as well as affect sperm motility (meaning movement or mobility) in men.
Those suffering from urinary incontinence are urged to quit smoking in order to reduce any chronic coughing, which can put pressure on the pelvic floor muscles and cause changes in the continence mechanism.
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