Send to

Choose Destination
Environ Health Perspect. 2005 Oct;113(10):1285-90.

Cigarette smoking and effects on hormone function in premenopausal women.

Author information

Division of Environmental and Occupational Disease Control, California Department of Health Services, Oakland, California, USA.


Cigarette smoke contains compounds that are suspected to cause reproductive damage and possibly affect hormone activity; therefore, we examined hormone metabolite patterns in relation to validated smoking status. We previously conducted a prospective study of women of reproductive age (n = 403) recruited from a large health maintenance organization, who collected urine daily during an average of three to four menstrual cycles. Data on covariates and daily smoking habits were obtained from a baseline interview and daily diary, and smoking status was validated by cotinine assay. Urinary metabolite levels of estrogen and progesterone were measured daily throughout the cycles. For the present study, we measured urinary levels of the pituitary hormone follicle-stimulating hormone (FSH) in a subset of about 300 menstrual cycles, selected by smoking status, with the time of transition between two cycles being of primary interest. Compared with nonsmokers, moderate to heavy smokers (>/= 10 cigarettes/day) had baseline levels (e.g., early follicular phase) of both steroid metabolites that were 25-35% higher, and heavy smokers (>/= 20 cigarettes/day) had lower luteal-phase progesterone metabolite levels. The mean daily urinary FSH levels around the cycle transition were increased at least 30-35% with moderate smoking, even after adjustment. These patterns suggest that chemicals in tobacco smoke alter endocrine function, perhaps at the level of the ovary, which in turn effects release of the pituitary hormones. This endocrine disruption likely contributes to the reported associations of smoking with adverse reproductive outcomes, including menstrual dysfunction, infertility, and earlier menopause.

[Indexed for MEDLINE]
Free PMC Article

Supplemental Content

Full text links

Icon for Atypon Icon for PubMed Central
Loading ...
Support Center