Smoking directly affects a woman’s reproductive organs and her reproductive health generally. Smoking has been identified as a risk factor for cancers of the uterus, cervix, and vulva and has been linked to breast cancer. It is estimated that 19 per cent of cervical cancer and 40 per cent of vulvar cancer are attributable to smoking. Women who smoke and are suffering from human papilloma virus infection are more likely to get invasive cancer of cervix. Those undergoing treatment of radiation for cancer of the cervix are more likely to suffer from small intestinal complications. A recent Australian study of more than 14000 women aged between 18 and 23 years showed that the risk of menstrual symptoms such as premenstrual tension, and a younger age of starting to smoke. There is increased risk of early ovarian failure and reproductive dysfunction leading to early menopause. Smokers are more prone to abortions, placental abruption. In older women, frequency, urgency and urge incontinence of urine is more likely in current smokers. Heavy smokers have increased incidence of macular degeneration leading to irreversible vision loss.
Possible side effects of infertility drugs
Side effects from drugs used to treat infertility tend to be minor, although some patients have reported mood changes, tiredness and muscle aching. Rarely, allergic reactions have been reported. In less than 5% of women, a condition called Ovarian Hyperstimulation Syndrome (OHSS) can occur when using drugs for ovarian stimulation. OHSS is most commonly seen in younger women and those with polycystic ovaries. Symptoms include lower abdominal pain and swelling, nausea or vomiting. Egg collection is arranged when oestrogen drops to an appropriate level or, alternatively, the cycle may be cancelled. The clinic must be contacted immediately for any symptom, however mild.
Smoking Although much of the evidence is controversial, at least one major study shows a significant increase in infertility among people who smoke at least one pack of cigarettes a day and in smokers who started using tobacco before the age of 18. (See also: women and smoking, smoking cessation)
The reasons that smoking contributes to male and female infertility are twofold: 1) Cigarette smoke constricts blood vessels (vasoconstriction), reducing blood flow to the ovaries, endometrial lining, and testes. 2) Toxins in cigarettes can contribute to cell damage in the ovaries and testes.
Alcohol Scientists are not sure how alcohol affects fertility, but the general consensus is that it likely has some effect. In one study, female infertility was significantly greater among women who had 5 or more drinks a week.
Environmental and Occupational
The ability to conceive may be affected by exposure to various toxins or chemicals in the workplace or the surrounding environment. Substances that can cause mutations, birth defects, abortions, infertility or sterility are called reproductive toxins.