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Smoking Leads To Higher Risk Of Menstrual Cramps In Young Teens

October 3rd, 2017

Smoking Leads To Higher Risk Of Menstrual Cramps In Young Teens

Smoking Leads To Higher Risk Of Menstrual Cramps In Young Teens

Smoking is associated with an increased risk of serious health issues; such as cancers, esophagitis, gastritis, hernia, infertility, and other sexual or reproductive ailments. It was believed that severity and onset of these adverse effects depends largely on the frequency of smoking as well as duration. However, according to a new study published in the peer reviewed journal Tobacco Control (1), investigators suggested that adverse effects of smoking may occur at younger ages as well. Based on the results of a new study, teens who smokes tobacco are more likely to experience severe menstrual cramps.

Menstrual Cramps

Dysmenorrhea also known as painful periods or menstrual cramps affects 9 of every 10 women worldwide. Based on latest estimates, the prevalence of dysmenorrhea in reproductive aged women is 91%; at some point of their reproductive life. It is noteworthy that about 29% women experience severe cramping during menstruation that compromises their capacity to lead a normal life.

Although, a lot of women can manage their day to day activities without needing any treatment, statistics suggests that menstrual cramping is the leading cause of lost time from work or school in young females in their teens and 20s.

Smoking Leads To Menstrual Cramps 

The longitudinal Australian study concluded that young females who start smoking at a younger age (13 years or less), are more likely to experience severe and chronic pelvic pain during menstruation. The intensity and severity of pain directly increases with the quantity of cigarettes smoked.

Investigators followed 9,000 young females between the age of 18 to 23 years for a period of about 10 years. At the baseline of this study, roughly 25% women reported a history of active smoking. About 25% females also reported severe pain during menstruation.

Missed Period ImageThe team of investigators divided the sample of women who reported dysmenorrhea in 4 major groups;

  • Normative group (no significant pain) – comprising of 42% of the sample
  • Late onset group – comprising of 11% women in the sample
  • Recovering from pain – comprising of 33% women
  • Chronic severe pain almost 70-80% time – comprising of 14% of the sample

The team of investigators inferred after statistical analysis that smoker women are 41% more likely to experience chronic severe pain. Smoking cessation can help in reducing the severity of pain as former smokers are 33% at risk of developing chronic severe menstrual pain when compared to women who never smoked. Investigators also discovered that:

  • Females who initiated smoking at an earlier age (13 or younger) are at 59% higher risk of developing chronic severe menstrual cramping than non-smokers
  • Females who initiated smoking in mid-teens are at 50% higher risk of experiencing chronic severe menstrual cramping than non-smokers

Currently, there are no specific treatments for menstrual cramps. Young females who see a doctor for the management of menstrual cramps are usually advised non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs like Tylenol or hormonal supplements.

It is therefore strongly recommended to initiate strategic counseling and education of younger females against smoking and consumption of other drugs. There is also a very strong need of a powerful smoking cessation program that primarily targets younger females and males.


  • Ju, H., Jones, M., & Mishra, G. D. (2014). Smoking and trajectories of dysmenorrhoea among young Australian women. Tobacco control, tobaccocontrol-2014.
  • Pejčić, A., & Janković, S. (2016). Risk factors for dysmenorrhea among young adult female university students. Annali dell’Istituto superiore di sanita, 52(1), 98-103.

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