Tobacco smoking increases the risk of moderate to severe PMS..

November 16, 2008 - Women 27 to 44 years old who smoke are twice as likely to develop premenstrual syndrome over the next two to four years, especially hormonally-related symptoms like backaches, bloating, breast tenderness and acne, Dr. Elizabeth R. Bertone-Johnson of the University of Massachusetts in Amherst and her colleagues found.

The risk increased with the amount they smoked, and women who had picked up the habit in adolescence or young adulthood were at even greater risk; those who had begun smoking before their 15th birthday, for example, were 2.53 times as likely to develop PMS.

The researchers analyzed data from the Nurses' Health Study II, which has been following 116,678 US registered nurses since 1989. The researchers looked at a subset of women who were PMS-free during the first two years of the study, comparing 1,057 who did go on to develop PMS to 1,968 who did not.

Bertone-Johnson said in an e-mail message, "Our findings lend further support to the idea that smoking increases the risk of moderate to severe PMS, and provides another reason for women, especially adolescents and young women, not to smoke."

Elizabeth R. Bertone-Johnson, Susan E. Hankinson, Susan R. Johnson and JoAnn E. Manson, Cigarette Smoking and the Development of Premenstrual Syndrome, American Journal of Epidemiology 168(8):928-945, (10/15)2008, ABSTRACT..

Cigarette smoking can shorten menstrual cycles (2). Cigarettes seem to shorten the follicular phase but heavier smoking also may shorten the luteal phase. Both heavy smoking and even smoking just 10 cigarettes or more a day may cause menstrual cycles to be shorter in length, as well as more variable in their lengths than nonsmokers. Types of Irregular Menstrual Patterns, Frederick R. Jelovsek MD.

Background reading: PMS Explained with Francine Cosner, M.D., Obstetrician/Gynecologist,, 10/1/2005.

Reference: Cigarette smoking may worsen PMS woes Women who puff are twice as likely to suffer bad symptoms, study says, Reuters, 11/16/2008.