Smoking and its Effects on Hormones
Dr. Kirti Singh

Dr. Kirti Singh

Jun 10General wellness

Smoking and its Effects on Hormones

Every cell present in the human body works along with functional hormones. With the correct hormonal balance in the body, these functions can be carried out smoothly. However, hormones can be influenced by prolonged stress, poor diet, unhealthy lifestyle, lack of exercise and lack of sleep. These factors can completely throw the hormones off the balance and further lead to serious health issues.

When there is a hormonal imbalance, it can cause issues like migraines, constant mood swings, weight gain, hot flashes and also low libido. It also contributes to quicker ageing of the body and mind with increased risk of many diseases.

But when the hormonal balance is right, it can help in regaining your sexual vitality, better sleeping routine, improved energy levels and overall well-being.

Why and how does smoking impact our hormones?

Smoking is one of the leading causes of hormonal imbalance in women. Each cigarette you smoke contributes to your body becoming weaker.

In addition to the hormonal imbalance, smoking also increases the risk of life-threatening diseases like breast cancer, heart disease, lung disease, and osteoporosis. Women who smoke can also suffer from accelerated ageing, bad skin health, and fatigue.

What are the various implications of smoking on hormonal health?

  • Higher levels of male hormone (testosterone) and lower levels of estradiol in the body
  • High levels of sex hormones -leads to a high risk of breast cancer, diabetes, heart ailments, etc, especially in older women.
  • The possibilities of constant weight gain get higher and there is an evident increase in abdominal obesity (male-like).
  • High risk of infertility, bad menstrual health and even early/complicated menopause.
  • Rise in adrenal hormones - like cortisol (stress hormone), and androgens (male hormones) during menopause
  • The blood sugar is also unstable due to high cortisol levels, further resulting in high blood glucose and insulin that stimulates the production of the male hormone or androgens in the ovaries.

Cigarettes are made up of tobacco and various other chemicals which are very hazardous, evidently cancer-causing and can have terrible side effects due to their chemical compositions. The nicotine, adjuvants and other added agents that make up a delivery system for tobacco, are very harmful.

Apart from the direct effects smoking can have on your body, it can also have other consequences like -

  1. The overall well-being of the body – Smoking significantly affects the sex hormone levels and also the body’s fat distribution in females. This can cause obesity and affect your confidence and body positivity sentiment, further affecting your sex life and personality.
  2. Mental health – The nicotine addiction, urge, guilt and helplessness also impacts your mind. It gets harder to quit with all the withdrawal symptoms, which may occur despite the nicotine patches and gums. This causes emotional instability and can put your mental health in a terrible state affecting your relationships with your loved ones and your own self.
  3. Complicated menopause – During menopause, the production of estrogen and progesterone in the ovaries is very slow while menopausal women can effectively keep producing androgens until their eighties. This mechanism is enhanced further due to smoking and this imbalance causes hair loss and upper lip and facial hair whiskers in older women.

How can you avoid these hormonal complications due to smoking?

  • Stress management - smoking is commonly used as a coping mechanism for stress. However, like smoking, stress too negatively impacts the hormonal balance in the body.
  • Fitness and nutrition - eating nutritious food and regular exercise have a positive impact on your hormonal health and also lead to increased energy levels.
  • Bioidentical hormone replacement therapy (BHRT) - this is a treatment option given in extreme cases. The bioidentical hormones are created externally and are usually derived from plant estrogens. In this treatment, the most commonly extracted and used hormones are estrogen, progesterone, and testosterone. These bioidentical hormones come in various forms, such as - patches, creams, pills, etc.

However, for long-term benefits, one must consider ‘kicking the butt’. The negative impacts of smoking easily outweigh the temporary gratifications it provides.

While the start might not be easy, once you quit smoking, you will experience better hormonal balance and thus a stabilized mood, increased energy levels, better possibilities of weight loss and improved sleep.

Disclaimer - This information is provided for educational purposes and should not be construed as medical advice. Please consult with your healthcare practitioners before undertaking any changes in your diet or adding supplements.

Proactive is a digital clinic for women, offering accessible, personalized, and confidential healthcare solutions. We offer products and services for out-patient health concerns of Indian women, across their lifetime - from puberty to pregnancy to menopause. To know more on the sexual and reproductive health of women, visit