translated from Spanish: Myths and truths about fertility and smoking

Although there is widespread consensus on the negative effects of tobacco use on health, it is still gene They were myths about them, believing, for example, that they affect only certain organs of the smoker and that consuming less than a certain amount of cigarettes a day can keep the problems on the sidelines.
These are misperceptions that can not only threaten the health of people, but also hinder the process of pregnancy and the development of offspring, even among those who undergo fertility treatments.
Smoking only affects the lungs
Myth: Cigarette components, such as nicotine, decrease the ability to produce estrogen (hormone produced primarily in the ovaries, essential for female sexual development and the functioning of the reproductive system). Tobacco produces various alterations in women, increasing the likelihood of infertility, the time of conception of a baby and hindering a spontaneous pregnancy.
«Multiple studies show the presence of Cotinine (alkaloid found in tobacco) in the follicular fluid of women smokers active in concentrations higher than non-smokers. This suggests that in the follicular fluid and in the ovary cells accumulate toxic metabolites that generate a harmful environment for the maturation of the oocytes, «explains Dr. Carlos Troncoso, Director of IVI Santiago, in addition to studies that demonstrate That this type of smokers could see their menopause ahead in up to two years.
Only the active smoker suffers the consequences associated with tobacco
Myth: In the case of women, not only does the active smoker suffer the consequences of smoking, but also those that are considered passive smokers (your partner or other people smoke in your presence). «They suffer from other consequences indirectly, as intrauterine exposure to cigarettes-related chemicals can reduce female fertility,» Troncoso adds.
The only smoking part that affects the baby is the woman
Myth: In this same line, it is important to emphasize that the health of the couple is fundamental to achieve a successful pregnancy and the sperm is in charge of giving half of the genetic material, so that the habits of the male affect directly to the pregnancy. Men who smoke experience a considerable drop in sperm quality, as there is a deterioration in their genetic material (DNA).
Smoking can produce impotence
Truth: Because smoking damages the arteries that irrigate the penis, it is considered a cause of impotence. The risk increases among those who consume more than one pack of cigarettes a day, being 40% higher than among non-smokers.
The tobacco can cause damage in the spermatogenesis, since it has been observed in males smokers a reduction of the seminal volume, of the sperm concentration, of the mobility and teratozoospermia (seminal alteration in which there is a large number of Sperm with abnormal or strange forms).
The damage is only associated with a high quantity of cigarettes
Myth: Although most of the adverse effects of smoking are dependent doses, there is no level of consumption that can be considered «health insurance.» «The risk of coronary artery disease increases after smoking only 1-4 cigarettes per day. Smokers of few cigarettes also have an increased risk of cancer of the esophagus, stomach, and pancreas, respiratory tract infections (which take longer to heal), cataracts, and disorders of the reproductive system, «Troncoso explains.
A fertility treatment solves everything
Myth: It is important to understand smoking as a habit very harmful to health in general and in reproductive health also hinders the process of fertilization. «Women smokers need on average twice the number of cycles that non-smokers to achieve a pregnancy, also requiring higher doses of medication,» explains Dr. Troncoso. It is a scenario where in addition to these patients are obtained fewer oocytes and a lower rate of fertilization and fewer embryos per cycle.
According to the American Society of Reproductive Medicine (ASRM) approximately 13% of sterility could be attributed to tobacco use.

Original source in Spanish

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