What is the first negative thing about smoking that comes up to mind? That it causes cancer. But you may question this idea by saying that a huge population of non-smokers develop some kind of cancer, especially bladder or kidney cancer and that is right. However, when we talk about the cancer that smoking causes, we are mainly talking about the risk of developing cancer by a smoker being greater than by a non-smoker. In a similar way, smoking causes various other conditions in people and urological conditions are at the top of that list.
Why does smoking bother urologists?
Apart from cancers such as lung cancer, head cancer, neck cancer, and some cardiovascular diseases, smoking has drastic urological impacts. When you smoke a cigarette, a stream of carcinogens and other harmful materials is released into your body. These unwanted substances travel via blood through all your body and then finally reaches your kidneys where they are filtered into your urine. Among these substances, potent carcinogens are known to be the greatest cause of bladder cancer and some other substances are absorbed by the urothelial and cortical cells. Upon this absorption, these substances degrade the DNA of these cells causing irreversible damage.
What are some of the common urological impacts of smoking?
As we are all well aware of the fact that smoking causes cancer, there are three very common types of urological cancers caused by it. Bladder cancer is the most usual among the other two; kidney cancer and prostate cancer.
What does kidney cancer due to smoking look like?
The kidney is exposed to all materials present in your blood and when you smoke, carcinogens make their way into the bloodstream. Although genetics play a key role in initiating cancer in the kidneys, these carcinogens act like triggers of the cancerous genes. When cancer due to smoking starts in these organs, the cells multiply and grow abnormally. This becomes a start of an uncontrollable bumpy ride as the cancerous cells affect the normal cells to become one of them and eventually involve the whole kidney.
What elements of a cigarette cause bladder cancer?
Carcinogens like nitrosamine, aromatic amines, and polycyclic aromatic hydrocarbons present in the smoke of a cigarette are mostly known to be linked with bladder cancer. Apart from these, there are 100 chemicals that are produced during tobacco burning which cause mutations in genes such as KRAS and P53. All these factors put together increase the risk of bladder cancer development in smokers. In most patients with this type of cancer, diagnostic tests have shown the presence of these chemicals in their body.
How is cancer in the prostate related to smoking?
As you might be aware of the fact that prostate cancer is a dormant condition until it develops to the stage of not being able to be cured. Most studies relate this disease to old age when the swelling in the prostate gland leads to the enlargement of this organ. However, it has been lately speculated by researchers that, some elements present in tobacco can induce this enlargement very early. Also, it is not necessary that every old man develops this condition but smoking does add the risk of it significantly.
Damage to the reproductive system
It is no surprise that smoking affects the reproductive system but you will be wondering how much impact it has on your reproductive health. Most people of reproductive age nowadays are smokers even after all the warnings related to it. If you are a smoker and of prime reproductive age, do not let the false thought, that the smoke is only in your lungs, fool you. Even if you are a passive smoker, research shows that every inch of your reproductive system is infused with the particles of broken-down smoke. Now you may ask:
How bad can it be? “It’s not as if I will go infertile.”
Well yes, cigarette smoking can make you run out of sex cells. Many studies show that smoker women have higher FSH levels in the blood. Higher FSH in blood indicates the presence of fewer eggs in your ovary. Usually, this increase in FSH levels are more common in older women but these days women of the age around 30 years show a hike in this hormone. Apart from all this, there is good news at the end. If you quit smoking, it will not go in vain because stopping smoking cigarettes improves your fertility and can even reach to the potential of a nonsmoker.
That was mostly about women. What about the reproductive health of male smokers?
To all the men out there, feminism might not have got to you but smoking will. The nicotine and other harmful substances of a cigarette cause the health of your sperm to be compromised and can even neutralize those cells to decrease your sperm count. Apart from this, these substances damage the arteries of penis and can even clog them. This causes an impaired flow of blood to your penis tissue causing a very common condition known as erectile dysfunction.
If you have read this and you smoke, you are now well aware of the urological impacts of smoking cigarettes. To make a summarized picture of the reason behind these urological impacts in your head, just think of the particles of smoke spreading through the blood and finally reaching the kidneys. It is a no-brainer that those kidneys will be negatively affected by those particles. Moreover, these particles will not only reach each and every part of the urinary system but also will affect them in different devastating ways. If you have no urological impacts caused due to smoking yet, quit cigarette smoking now and get a check-up from a good urological doctor like Dr. Dushyant Pawar. His experience and expertise will get you out of a pit before you even realize you are there.