Featured Research

from universities, journals, and other organizations

University Of Florida Researcher Explores Complex Relationship between smoking and fertility

Date:
April 13, 1999
Source:
University of Florida
Summary:
The vessels get so beaten up that they may not be able to respond to a damaged placenta with the high blood pressure characteristic of pre-eclampsia. This may ‘protect’ the mother. But the baby is still at risk because the placenta is damaged, and there is increased risk of pre-term birth and abruption, both of which can be lethal to the baby.

By Victoria White

GAINESVILLE, Fla.---When a number of studies appeared during the 1980s and 1990s showing that cigarette smoking decreased a woman’s risk of certain diseases, scientists were stunned.

“The possibility that smoking could have a protective effect on pre-eclampsia, a sometimes life-threatening condition in pregnancy, was the exact opposite of what you would predict,” said Kathleen Shiverick a professor of pharmacology and therapeutics at the University of Florida College of Medicine. “And other studies had shown a surprising decrease in the rates of uterine cancer and endometriosis, which sometimes causes infertility.”

Those results prompted Shiverick and Dr. Carolyn Salafia, a professor of pathology and pediatrics at Columbia University College of Physicians and Surgeons, to undertake a comprehensive review of the medical literature. In articles to be published next month in the journal Placenta, they have concluded that the protective effects are more mirage than reality.

Pre-eclampsia, a sometimes fatal condition for mother and baby whose symptoms include high blood pressure, is less common among smokers because many of their troubled pregnancies are redirected into miscarriages, according to Salafia and Shiverick. When pregnancies do continue past the first trimester, there still can be problems.

“Smoking damages blood vessels,” Salafia said. “The vessels get so beaten up that they may not be able to respond to a damaged placenta with the high blood pressure characteristic of pre-eclampsia. This may ‘protect’ the mother. But the baby is still at risk because the placenta is damaged, and there is increased risk of pre-term birth and abruption, both of which can be lethal to the baby.”

And while endometriosis and uterine cancer may be less common among smokers, the reproductive system in such women is far from normal, leading to such problems as decreased production of eggs, difficulties becoming pregnant, higher rates of miscarriage and lower birth weights.

Smoking during pregnancy is responsible for an estimated $1.4 to $2 billion in health complications, according to the U.S. Centers for Disease Control. The good news, however, is that the rate of smoking among expectant mothers has declined in recent years, from 26 percent in 1990 to 13.6 percent in 1996.

The rates vary by age, with those 15 to 19 the most likely to be smokers. The figures also differ by race: Among pregnant white women in 1996, 16.9 percent reported smoking; for pregnant black women, the rate was 10.3 percent; and among Hispanics, just 4.3 percent said they smoked.

While smoking can cause some damage that is not reversible, Shiverick said: “To stop smoking is helpful at any point during pregnancy, and women who want to get pregnant are advised to stop smoking.”

Like others trying to break the addiction, some expectant mothers turn to nicotine patches for assistance. But animal studies have shown nicotine to be harmful to fetal brain development. Because of this, researchers who haveexplored the issue have suggested using nicotine gum instead or removing patches at night, Shiverick said.

“By removing patches at night or using the gum, at least there are breaks in the exposure to nicotine,” she said.

To try to understand the decreased risk of endometriosis associated with smoking, Shiverick experimented with laboratory-grown uterine tissue. In endometriosis, tissue that resembles the mucous membrane that lines the uterus grows in the wrong place, such as in the fallopian tubes, sometimes causing abnormal bleeding and scarring, and interfering with fertility. Shiverick found that a toxin in cigarette smoke, benzo(a)pyrene, actually inhibited the growth of cells that could migrate and develop into endometriosis.

“But if the chemical has the same inhibitory effect on the growth of normal uterine tissue, this would not be favorable for establishing pregnancy,” said Shiverick, noting that she has not yet conducted such studies. “This may be a good profile for reducing the risk of endometriosis, but this is not a normal uterus.”

-----------------------------------------

Recent UF Health Science Center news releases are available athttp://www.health.ufl.edu/hscc/index.html

The UF Health Science Center topic/expert list is available at http://www.health.ufl.edu/hscc/experts.html


Story Source:

The above story is based on materials provided by University of Florida. Note: Materials may be edited for content and length.


Cite This Page:

University of Florida. "University Of Florida Researcher Explores Complex Relationship between smoking and fertility." ScienceDaily. ScienceDaily, 13 April 1999. <www.sciencedaily.com/releases/1999/04/990412092446.htm>.
University of Florida. (1999, April 13). University Of Florida Researcher Explores Complex Relationship between smoking and fertility. ScienceDaily. Retrieved September 1, 2014 from www.sciencedaily.com/releases/1999/04/990412092446.htm
University of Florida. "University Of Florida Researcher Explores Complex Relationship between smoking and fertility." ScienceDaily. www.sciencedaily.com/releases/1999/04/990412092446.htm (accessed September 1, 2014).

Share This




More Health & Medicine News

Monday, September 1, 2014

Featured Research

from universities, journals, and other organizations


Featured Videos

from AP, Reuters, AFP, and other news services

Get on Your Bike! London Cycling Popularity Soars Despite Danger

Get on Your Bike! London Cycling Popularity Soars Despite Danger

AFP (Sep. 1, 2014) Wedged between buses, lorries and cars, cycling in London isn't for the faint hearted. Nevertheless the number of people choosing to bike in the British capital has doubled over the past 15 years. Duration: 02:27 Video provided by AFP
Powered by NewsLook.com
We've Got Mites Living In Our Faces And So Do You

We've Got Mites Living In Our Faces And So Do You

Newsy (Aug. 30, 2014) A new study suggests 100 percent of adult humans (those over 18 years of age) have Demodex mites living in their faces. Video provided by Newsy
Powered by NewsLook.com
Liberia Continues Fight Against Ebola

Liberia Continues Fight Against Ebola

AFP (Aug. 30, 2014) Authorities in Liberia try to stem the spread of the Ebola epidemic by raising awareness and setting up sanitation units for people to wash their hands. Duration: 00:41 Video provided by AFP
Powered by NewsLook.com
California Passes 'yes-Means-Yes' Campus Sexual Assault Bill

California Passes 'yes-Means-Yes' Campus Sexual Assault Bill

Reuters - US Online Video (Aug. 30, 2014) California lawmakers pass a bill requiring universities to adopt "affirmative consent" language in their definitions of consensual sex, part of a nationwide drive to curb sexual assault on campuses. Linda So reports. Video provided by Reuters
Powered by NewsLook.com

Search ScienceDaily

Number of stories in archives: 140,361

Find with keyword(s):
Enter a keyword or phrase to search ScienceDaily for related topics and research stories.

Save/Print:
Share:

Breaking News:
from the past week

In Other News

... from NewsDaily.com

Science News

Health News

Environment News

Technology News



Save/Print:
Share:

Free Subscriptions


Get the latest science news with ScienceDaily's free email newsletters, updated daily and weekly. Or view hourly updated newsfeeds in your RSS reader:

Get Social & Mobile


Keep up to date with the latest news from ScienceDaily via social networks and mobile apps:

Have Feedback?


Tell us what you think of ScienceDaily -- we welcome both positive and negative comments. Have any problems using the site? Questions?
Mobile: iPhone Android Web
Follow: Facebook Twitter Google+
Subscribe: RSS Feeds Email Newsletters
Latest Headlines Health & Medicine Mind & Brain Space & Time Matter & Energy Computers & Math Plants & Animals Earth & Climate Fossils & Ruins