Do not Smoke! Smoking and long exposure to second-hand smoke are among the leading causes of many urologic conditions. Smoking can contribute to at least seven different conditions alone that we've identified in this article.
According to the American Cancer Society, smoking is the world's most needless cause of death. Since the first U.S. Surgeon General's Report on smoking and health in 1964, more than 20 million premature deaths in the U.S. have been linked to smoking. Smoking raises your risk for getting many different types of cancers. It can significantly impact your urological health too, so let's review!
- Bladder Cancer is a far too common cancer in men and women. In 2016, nearly 80,000 were told they have bladder cancer. Smoking causes harmful chemicals and drugs to collect in the urine. These chemicals affect the lining of the bladder and raise your bladder cancer risk.
- Erectile Dysfunction impacts 20-30 million American men. ED is a result of poor blood flow to the penis. Smoking can harm blood vessels, which can impact the blood flow. This can result in not being able to get or keep an erection firm enough for sexual intercourse.
- Kidney Cancer is in the top ten most common cancers for men and women. When smoking, smoke is drawn into the lungs. It then makes its way into the bloodstream, where it is filtered into the kidneys. The harmful chemicals are now in the kidneys. About 62,700 new cases of kidney cancer will be found in 2016, many as a result of smoking.
- Kidney Stones are a common health issue of the urinary tract. Each year, more than 1 million people visit their doctor because of painful, kidney stone problems. Smoking has been shown to greatly add to the risk of getting kidney stones.
- Interstitial Cystitis or Painful Bladder Syndrome impacts more women than men. Up to 12% of women are said to have early signs of IC, which is a chronic bladder health issue. Smoking irritates the bladder and can make IC symptoms worse.
- Incontinence (leaking urine) and Overactive Bladder (OAB), impact more than 33 million men and women. Smoking bothers the bladder and can cause frequent urination. It can also cause coughing spasms that can lead to urine leakage.
- Infertility impacts both men and women and about 50% of infertility cases can be linked to the male. Smoking can harm the genetic make-up in eggs and sperm. The infertility rate for smokers is twice the rates for those who do not smoke.
If you smoke, ask your health care provider about ways to quit so you can lower your chances of having these urologic conditions.