Quitting Smoking And Menstrual Cycle May Be Linked

Quitting Smoking And Menstrual Cycle May Be Linked

With the new year rolling in, many people are beginning the first phases of their resolutions. The most popular promises people make for the new year are health-related, among them, to quit smoking. While we have known that smoking is a difficult habit to break, scientists are now suggesting that women take their menstrual cycle into consideration when deciding to stop smoking.

In a study by the University of Montreal, scientists researched nicotine addiction in both men and women, and found a link between a woman's nicotine cravings and her menstrual cycle. The result was that during her cycle, a woman is more vulnerable to nicotine cravings, and therefore, may find it harder to quit during this time.

Researchers have known that there are differences among men and women when it comes to smoking. Women get addicted to nicotine more quickly, and experts were curious as to whether a woman's menstruation played a role in these behaviors.

By analyzing a group of women who smoked regularly through MRI brain scans, scientists showed participants neutral images and pictures related to smoking. The experiment was carried out at two different times during their menstruation – toward the beginning and near the end of the cycle.

The results showed that nicotine cravings increased during the beginning stages of the menstrual cycle, perhaps due to lower levels of estrogen and progesterone, which can increase withdrawal symptoms.

In light of the research, women are encouraged to try kicking the habit toward the end of their cycle, or better yet, two weeks before their cycle is due to begin, when hormone levels are higher.
 

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