Smoking: Its Impact on Bladder Health
If you’re a cigarette smoker, urinating is like exhaling smoke from your bladder.
The cancer-causing substances in cigarette smoke (carcinogens) infiltrate not only the lungs and bloodstream but also urine. This means they pass through the urinary tract and the bladder, exposing it to high concentrations of toxins for up to nine hours before the bladder reaches capacity (two cups) and flushes them out.
Smoking May Cause Bladder Cancer
If you’re sceptical of the effects, consider this: Cigarette smokers are at least three times more likely to develop bladder cancer than non-smokers. It is the single most important known risk factor for bladder cancer. Most cases of bladder cancer occur in men, but the rate of the disease among women is just as great and could escalate if smoking rises among younger females.
Bladder Cancer Explained
Bladder cancer is the result of cells that mutate and grow uncontrollably, forming a tumour. Because the bladder is comprised of expandable muscular walls, the tumour interferes with the organ’s ability to expand and contract. If not detected, cancer could spread to other parts of the body.
Blood in the urine is a primary symptom; however, blood may not be visible, so the following symptoms are also important:
- a burning sensation while urinating;
- more frequent urination or trouble urinating; and
- lower back pain on one side.
If you or a loved one experience any of these symptoms, call your urologist to schedule a screening.
Tips to Quit Smoking
Guidelines for that first day of taking the “butt” out of quitting.
- Make a plan.
A smoker has to come to the decision to quit on his or her own and approach it like a plan or set of guidelines. The plan should include a list of reasons for quitting and some activities (such as walks or chewing mints) to take place of habitual smoking breaks.
- Prepare for the mental implications.
Nicotine is a drug that affects brain chemistry, and therefore it is emotionally addicting. Upon quitting, former smokers could experience depression, anxiety, trouble concentrating and irritability.
- Understand nicotine replacement therapy and prescriptions.
Nicotine in the form of gum, lozenges, patches and sprays can reduce physical withdrawal symptoms and studies show they can nearly double the chances of quitting. One may also consider prescriptions such as Chantix, but they may need to be started weeks before the quit date.
Quitting smoking is, like most accomplishments in life, a process. It starts with a day. Let’s avoid smoking for one day and then try to make it two. Your bladder will thank you.Contact Us