Smoking hastens menopause, says medical practitioner

A medical doctor, of Safe Kids Hospital, Ilorin, Tajudeen Olawepo, has said that cigarette smoking hastens the commencement of menopause in women.

He told the News Agency of Nigeria (NAN) in Ilorin on Friday that studies had shown that smoking hastened menopause by approximately one to two years, regardless of race or genetic background.

He said that in the case of heavy smokers, this could be up to nine years earlier than for average women with certain genetic variations.

He added that menopause occurred when the female reproductive organs, the ovaries, stopped producing the hormones estrogen and progesterone.

Olawepo explained that the symptoms of menopause include hot flashes, night sweats, depression, forgetfulness, vaginal dryness, pain during intercourse.

Menopause was recognised when a woman had not had a monthly period for 12 months, as long as there was no other reason, he added.

He said menopause happened between the ages of 45 and 55.

He noted that “it is not always easy to confirm that menopause has actually happened , of course, irregular periods and occasional hot flash is a sign that changes are taking place, but timing the actual menopause is not so simple.

“And it’s important to know, not just preventing symptoms in the most appropriate way, but also for contraception.

“However, most doctors advise menopausal women under 50 to continue with their contraception for two years after their last period and for one year if they are over 50.’’

Menopause is the time in a woman’s life when her period stops. It usually occurs naturally, often after age 45.

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