It’s widely known that smoking tobacco can damage different body parts and lead to health issues like lung cancer and gum disease.
What is not so talked about is that smoking also affects the part of your body that plays a critical role in controlling when and where you go to the bathroom: Your bladder!
This post will explain how tobacco smoke can change your urological health.
8 Ways Smoking Impacts Your Urological Health
It’s been proven that tobacco smoke significantly affects bladder health. Here are 8 ways your urinary system is affected by smoking.
1. Bladder Cancer
Bladder cancer is prevalent among smokers. Tobacco is the most prevalent risk factor for developing bladder cancer. When you smoke tobacco, the 7,000+ chemicals and carcinogens you inhale need to exit your body, and they do so through your urinary system.
After being filtered through the bloodstream, the chemicals and carcinogens end up in your urinary system and bladder, damaging the lining and increasing your cancer risk.
2. Urinary Incontinence
Urinary incontinence (UI) is a loss of bladder control. Symptoms of UI vary based on which type of incontinence you have, but the main symptom is uncontrolled urine leakage.
There are 2 ways smoking can lead to incontinence:
- Chronic coughing: Tobacco use often leads to chronic coughing as it damages the lungs. Coughing places extra pressure on the pelvic floor muscles, weakening them and leading to urine leakage. This type of UI is known as stress incontinence.
- Bladder irritation: The chemicals in tobacco irritate the lining of your bladder, leading to bladder spasms and frequent urination, which are symptoms of overactive bladder (OAB), also known as urge incontinence.
3. Erectile Dysfunction
ED is common among American men and occurs when you cannot achieve or maintain an erection. The main cause of ED is a lack of proper blood flow, which is made worse by smoking because it significantly impacts your body’s circulation.
4. Interstitial Cystitis
Also known as painful bladder syndrome, interstitial cystitis causes you lasting pain in the abdominal or bladder area.
Symptoms of interstitial cystitis are commonly compared to symptoms of a urinary tract infection (UTI). Smoking increases pain and pressure.
5. Kidney Cancer
Kidney cancer develops in the same way bladder cancer does. After inhaling tobacco smoke, it enters your bloodstream, and eventually, the damaging chemicals end up in your kidneys. The kidneys’ job is to filter out toxins and waste; as they filter the tobacco chemicals out, they become trapped in the kidneys, causing cancer over time.
Smoking damages the genetic makeup of both women’s eggs and men’s sperm, harms the uterus, and decreases hormone production, causing infertility.
7. Kidney Stones
Tobacco use increases your risk of developing kidney stones; almost 30% of people who develop kidney stones are smokers.
8. Prostate Cancer
Your risk of developing prostate cancer increases as the level of inflammation in your body and prostate increases. Smoking is directly related to inflammation in the body, raising your risk of prostate cancer.
How to Manage Incontinence
Incontinence symptoms that develop from tobacco smoke may seem daunting to manage, but with the proper steps, it is possible to regain control of your bladder.
The first and most crucial step is to quit smoking. By quitting, you’ll be relieving your urinary system of toxins found in tobacco, and your urological health will start to improve.
Secondly, identify your incontinence symptoms. If you’re a smoker or former smoker, your symptoms can likely be attributed to one or both types of UI:
- Stress incontinence: Leaking urine when coughing, sneezing, or exercising.
- OAB: Feeling the sudden and frequent urge to urinate, often leading to leaks.
- Mixed incontinence: Experiencing symptoms of two or more types of incontinence.
If you are experiencing these symptoms, consult your healthcare professional to obtain a written prescription for incontinence.
After receiving your prescription, you may qualify to receive free bladder control products from a supplier through your insurance plan.
Aeroflow Urology offers a variety of incontinence products to suit your unique needs. You’ll be able to choose from:
- Bladder control pads or male incontinence shields.
- Adult briefs.
- Adult protective underwear.
Aeroflow Urology also offers free product samples so you can find your perfect products before they’re shipped. Your supplies are then shipped directly to your front door in discreet packaging for free, no matter where you live. And, we’ll remind you when it’s time to refill your products every month.
To see if you qualify for free bladder control products to help ease your incontinence symptoms, fill out our 2-step Eligibility Form. It takes under 5 minutes, and you’ll hear back from our team of Continence Care Specialists as soon as we receive a prescription from your healthcare provider’s office!
How Does Smoking Affect the Bladder? | Cxbladder. (n.d.). Www.cxbladder.com. https://www.cxbladder.com/us/blog/how-does-smoking-affect-the-bladder/
Associates, U. (2017, September 27). 5 Urologic Conditions Impacted by Smoking | Urology Associates | CO. Urology Associates of Colorado | Denver Urologists. https://www.denverurology.com/urology-blog/urologic-conditions-and-smoking/
7 Urologic Conditions Impacted by Smoking - Urology Care Foundation. (n.d.). Www.urologyhealth.org. https://www.urologyhealth.org/healthy-living/care-blog/2018/7-urologic-conditions-impacted-by-smoking#:~:text=Smoking%20irritates%20the%20bladder%20and
Information provided on the Aeroflow Urology blog is not intended as a substitute to medical advice or care. Aeroflow recommends consulting your healthcare provider if you are experiencing medical issues relating to incontinence.