Skip to content

    Smoking: Sexual and Reproductive Problems

    Font Size
    A
    A
    A

    Topic Overview

    Smoking can gradually and permanently damage blood vessels throughout the body, including those that carry blood to the penis. This can make it difficult to get or maintain an erection (impotence). Quitting smoking may help prevent new damage from occurring inside the blood vessels.

    Smoking can also affect a man's ability to get or maintain an erection in other ways that are not well understood. Nicotine may make the blood vessels narrower for a short time, which makes it more difficult to get enough blood into the penis for a normal erection. Men who quit smoking often have fewer problems achieving a normal erection.

    During sexual arousal, a woman's genitals swell with blood. Nicotine narrows blood vessels, which makes it harder for blood to fill the genitals. So women who smoke may have less sexual sensation or feel less aroused.

    Smoking while on hormonal birth control increases a woman's health risks, such as for blood clots, heart attack, and stroke. And birth control may not work as well, because smoking can lower the level of estrogen in the body.

    Compared to women who do not smoke, women who smoke are likely to have longer and more painful and irregular menstrual cycles or periods.

    Women who smoke take longer to become pregnant. But women who quit smoking before they try to become pregnant are as likely to become pregnant as women who have never smoked.

    1

    WebMD Medical Reference from Healthwise

    Last Updated: September 09, 2014
    This information is not intended to replace the advice of a doctor. Healthwise disclaims any liability for the decisions you make based on this information.
    Next Article:

    Smoking: Sexual and Reproductive Problems Topics

    Hot Topics

    WebMD Video: Now Playing

    Click here to wach video: Dirty Truth About Hand Washing

    Which sex is the worst about washing up? Why is it so important? We’ve got the dirty truth on how and when to wash your hands.

    Click here to watch video: Dirty Truth About Hand Washing

    Popular Slideshows & Tools on WebMD

    disciplining a boy
    Types, symptoms, causes.
    fruit drinks
    Eat these to think better.
    embarrassed woman
    Do you feel guilty after eating?
    diabetes supply kit
    Pack and prepare.
    Balding man in mirror
    Treatments & solutions.
    birth control pills
    Which kind is right for you?
    Remember your finger
    Are you getting more forgetful?
    sticky notes on face
    10 tips to clear your brain fog.
    Close up of eye
    12 reasons you're distracted.
    woman biting a big ice cube
    Habits that wreck your teeth.
    apple slices with peanut butter
    What goes best with workouts?
    Pink badge on woman chest to support breat cancer
    Myths and facts.

    Women's Health Newsletter

    Find out what women really need.