Can Smoking Affect Your Ability to Conceive?

There are many awareness campaigns designed to urge people to quit smoking.  Some of these messages attempt to educate smokers about the many dangers smoking can have on your health or the health of your unborn child, but did you know that if you smoke, it can affect your ability to even have a baby?

There have been multiple studies to support the theory that smoking has an adverse effect on fertility. Research has found that the prevalence of infertility is higher, and the time it takes to conceive is longer in smokers as compared to nonsmokers. It has also been proven that smoking can affect every stage of the reproductive process in both sexes because the chemicals in cigarettes can cause damage to both male sperm and female eggs.

In women, smoking can lead to many fertility problems, including:

  • Problems with the fallopian tubes, including blockages (preventing egg and sperm from meeting) and an increased risk of ectopic pregnancy.
  • Damage to the eggs as they develop in the ovaries.
  • Increased risk of miscarriage, possibly due to damaged eggs, damage to the developing fetus, or unfavorable changes in the uterine lining, which may make healthy implantation of an embryo less likely.

In addition, smoking can cause a woman’s eggs to age prematurely, leading to an earlier onset of menopause and a shorter window to conceive.

But men should be equally concerned about how smoking can affect their chances of conceiving a child. Studies have concluded that smoking affects sperm in a variety of ways, including:

  • Concentration, which refers to the number of sperm found in a measured quantity of semen. Studies have shown a 23 percent decrease in sperm concentration in men who smoke.
  • Mobility, which measures the swimming capabilities sperm. If sperm cannot swim properly, they may have trouble reaching the egg.
  • Morphology, which relates to the shape of the sperm. Non-smokers have more healthy shaped sperm, which have a better chance to fertilize an egg.
  • DNA damage, which can lead to problems with fertilization, embryo development, embryo implantation, and increased miscarriage rates.

The good news is that the damage done to both the male and female reproductive system as a result of smoking is reversible. For men, it takes approximately three months for new, healthy sperm to mature. For women, quitting smoking can improve natural fertility within less than a year.

If you want to have a baby, but you are a smoker, quit now! If you need help, Flushing Hospital Medical Center offers smoking cessation services to help you. For more information, please call 718-206-8494.

All content of this newsletter is intended for general information purposes only and is not intended or implied to be a substitute for professional medical advice, diagnosis or treatment. Please consult a medical professional before adopting any of the suggestions on this page. You must never disregard professional medical advice or delay seeking medical treatment based upon any content of this newsletter. PROMPTLY CONSULT YOUR PHYSICIAN OR CALL 911 IF YOU BELIEVE YOU HAVE A MEDICAL EMERGENCY.

How Smoking Affects Your Voice

Smoking has many negative effects on your health, one of which is causing long-term damage to your vocal cords.  According to the National Institute on Deafness and Other Communication Disorders, or NIDCD, “Smoking is a form of vocal cord abuse.”

Frequent damage to the vocal cords can result in changes in the way your voice works and sounds. In some instances, damages may lead to the loss of your voice or chronic laryngitis.

Smoking also leads to more serious illnesses such as cancer which can develop on your larynx or voice box.  Laryngeal cancer can spread to other parts of the body such as the back of the tongue and your lungs.   Smokers are more at risk of premature death caused by laryngeal cancer than non-smokers.

Symptoms of this form of cancer include:

  • A sore throat that does not go away
  • Persistent hoarseness
  • Constant coughing
  • Difficulty swallowing
  • Ear pain
  • Trouble breathing

There are several treatments available, one of which is surgically removing the larynx.   After surgery, you will not be able to speak or breathe in the usual way. Instead, breathing will be made possible by way of a permanent hole in your neck (stoma).  Speech may be aided by using an artificial larynx.

Quitting smoking is one of the best decisions you can make for your health.  Smokers are at greater risk of developing illnesses such as cancer and heart disease. However, quitting can reduce your risk and put you on a path to better health.

The journey to quit smoking can be difficult, but you do not have to do it alone. Flushing Hospital’s smoking cessation team wants to help you develop a plan leading to your “quit day”. Flushing Hospital’s Medical Home Department has partnered with the American Lung Association to bring you Freedom from Smoking, a comprehensive and successful group-based smoking cessation program. Classes are forming. For more information or to register, call: 718 206 8494

All content of this newsletter is intended for general information purposes only and is not intended or implied to be a substitute for professional medical advice, diagnosis or treatment. Please consult a medical professional before adopting any of the suggestions on this page. You must never disregard professional medical advice or delay seeking medical treatment based upon any content of this newsletter. PROMPTLY CONSULT YOUR PHYSICIAN OR CALL 911 IF YOU BELIEVE YOU HAVE A MEDICAL EMERGENCY.

Baby with cleft before and after surgery

January is National Birth Defects Prevention Month. Among the most common birth defects is cleft lip. Cleft lip is a birth defect that occurs when a baby’s lip or mouth does not form properly in the womb. Collectively, these birth defects commonly are called “orofacial clefts”.

The lip forms between the fourth and seventh weeks of pregnancy. A cleft lip develops if the lip tissue does not join completely before birth, resulting in an opening of the upper lip. The opening in the lip varies in size from a small slit or a large opening that goes through the lip into the nose.

The causes of orofacial clefts among most infants are unknown. However, they are thought to be caused by a combination of genetics or other factors, such as things the mother comes in contact with in her environment, or what the mother eats or drinks, or certain medications she uses during pregnancy. Recently the Center for Disease Control reported findings from research studies about risk factors that increase the chance of infant orofacial cleft:

  • Smoking―Women who smoke during pregnancy are more likely to have a baby with an orofacial cleft than women who do not smoke
  • Diabetes―Women with diabetes diagnosed before pregnancy have an increased risk of having a child with a cleft lip with or without cleft palate, compared to women who did not have diabetes
  • Use of certain medicines―Women who used certain medicines to treat epilepsy during the first trimester (the first 3 months) of pregnancy are at greater risk

Orofacial clefts, especially cleft lip with or without cleft palate, can be diagnosed during pregnancy during a routine ultrasound. Services and treatment for children with orofacial clefts can vary depending on:

  • The severity of the cleft
  • The child’s age and needs
  • The presence of associated syndromes
  • Other birth defects

Surgery to repair a cleft lip usually occurs in the first few months of life and is recommended within the first 12 months of life. Children born with orofacial clefts might need other types of treatments and services, such as special dental or orthodontic care or speech therapy.

If you are an expecting mother in need of a doctor, Flushing Hospital Medical Center’s Department of Obstetrics offers a wide variety of services to expectant mothers. For more information or to schedule an appointment, please call 718-670-8994.

All content of this newsletter is intended for general information purposes only and is not intended or implied to be a substitute for professional medical advice, diagnosis or treatment. Please consult a medical professional before adopting any of the suggestions on this page. You must never disregard professional medical advice or delay seeking medical treatment based upon any content of this newsletter. PROMPTLY CONSULT YOUR PHYSICIAN OR CALL 911 IF YOU BELIEVE YOU HAVE A MEDICAL EMERGENCY.

How Smoking Effects Your Oral Health

Teeth bad company.

It is no secret that smoking can have a great number of adverse effects on the health of the smoker. It is only natural that oral health would be one of the areas most negatively affected by oral smoke inhalation. The most ideal option to reverse the damage to your teeth caused by smoking is to quit smoking but, in most cases it is easier said than done.

Smoking can cause many serious problems for teeth and oral structures. Gum disease is among the most common oral problems, putting smokers at an increased risk. Smokers are four times more likely to develop this problem than non-smokers. Gum disease occurs when plaque build-up is present. As a result tooth loss can occur. Due to the harmful chemicals in cigarette smoke, smokers are twice aslikely to suffer tooth loss than non-smokers.

Smokers are at a higher risk for developing leukoplakia, leading to throat, lung, and oral cancers. It can cause the salivary glands to become swollen and contribute to the break-down of bone structure. In addition smokers also have a harder time recovering from dental procedures such as plaque removal treatments, dental implants, and tooth removal.

Due to an increased and steady buildup of plaque and tarter, the teeth of a smoker are less attractive in appearance. Smoking also stains the teeth and can cause bad breath. In some smokers, the tongue can develop a condition known as black hairy tongue, due to a growth that may grow as a result of tobacco use. Smokers may also lose the sensation of taste and smell.

While quitting smoking is the most effective way to ensure better oral health, regular dental visits are a must. Given all of the risks and complications of smoking on oral health it is very important that smokers do not skip regular checkups with their dentists. During these visits, dentists can watch for signs of developing gum disease and oral cancers. Everyone should visit their dentist twice a year, but those who smoke should consider more frequent visits.

The Dental Department at Flushing Hospital Medical Center specializes in a wide selection of dental services. To schedule an appointment, please call 718-670-5521. The journey to quit smoking can be difficult, but you do not have to do it alone. Flushing Hospital’s smoking cessation team wants to help you develop a plan leading to your “quit day”. For more information please call 718-206-8494.

All content of this newsletter is intended for general information purposes only and is not intended or implied to be a substitute for professional medical advice, diagnosis or treatment. Please consult a medical professional before adopting any of the suggestions on this page. You must never disregard professional medical advice or delay seeking medical treatment based upon any content of this newsletter. PROMPTLY CONSULT YOUR PHYSICIAN OR CALL 911 IF YOU BELIEVE YOU HAVE A MEDICAL EMERGENCY.

To Hookah or Not to Hookah?

Article by Jennifer Ceide,  AE-C, CHES, CTTS Flushing Hospital Medical Center

Brunette with hookah

For my birthday, I am definitely going to a hookah lounge!” was excitedly determined by my cousin several years ago. As a developing tobacco treatment specialist, I wanted to proclaim my objection by saying, “Do you know that one hookah session is equivalent to smoking 100 cigarettes?!” Luckily, we couldn’t find a lounge that was open. Besides hookah lounges, hookah is also offered at night clubs and restaurants; it’s almost impossible not to find an opportunity to smoke hookah.  So why the sudden burst in popularity, especially among never-smoked-a-cigarette millennials who without hesitation detest cigarette smoking?

So, what’s a Hookah? 

Hookah is a water pipe used to smoke tobacco. Tobacco is burned at the top of the pipe, the smoke is then passed through water and the vapor is inhaled.

It’s safer…right? 

Wrong! Besides the delivery of the highly addictive drug nicotine, the smoke from hookah contains toxins that contribute to cancer and other diseases. The water through which the smoke passes gives the false impression of purification; this process has not been shown to decrease any toxins associated with smoking. The vapor contains carbon monoxide, metals, and cancer-causing chemicals.

According to the World Health Organization, a hookah session can last between 20 to 80 minutes, one session can be equal to smoking 100 cigarettes.

When we consider the added risk associated with sharing a mouthpiece with others, the possibility of contracting communicable diseases such as tuberculosis, herpes, influenza, or hepatitis becomes a noteworthy threat.

To hookah or not to hookah?

From what we know so far the risks linked to smoking hookah should deter and not encourage. Because the popularity of smoking hookah is a recent trend, long term effects of the activity continue to be determined; however, we have enough evidence to conclude that hookah is not the safe alternative to smoking cigarettes. Hookah smokers are at risk for developing the same cancers and diseases that are linked to cigarette smoking in addition to the added risk of developing communicable diseases.

 

 

 

All content of this newsletter is intended for general information purposes only and is not intended or implied to be a substitute for professional medical advice, diagnosis or treatment. Please consult a medical professional before adopting any of the suggestions on this page. You must never disregard professional medical advice or delay seeking medical treatment based upon any content of this newsletter. PROMPTLY CONSULT YOUR PHYSICIAN OR CALL 911 IF YOU BELIEVE YOU HAVE A MEDICAL EMERGENCY.