Information about the Effects & Risks of Smoking:

The Effects of Smoking on Your Digestive System

Smoking and the Digestive System

No part of our body is spared the damage that smoking can cause, and the digestive system in no different. Yes, while smoking does lead to a variety of problems relating to the heart and the lungs, the digestive system faces its fury as well. This article will tell you the risk you expose your digestive system to owing to your smoking habit.

Cancers:

Various studies have shown that smoking increases the risk of one’s contracting colorectal cancer, one of the leading causes of cancer related deaths the world over. Also commonly referred to as colon cancer; this results in the formation and multiplication of cancerous cells within the rectum, appendix, and colon. Smokers also increase their risk of contracting gastrointestinal cancers (which include oesophageal, stomach, gallbladder, liver and pancreatic cancer). Studies have also shown that cigar smoking in particular can lead to cancers of the upper digestive tract.

Crohn’s Disease:

While there is little in the form of conclusive scientific evidence showing the link, a number of researches show that smoking can increase an individual’s chance of contracting this disease. It is believed that the chemicals present in cigarettes work in irritating the intestines, thereby causing inflammation. Moreover, since smoking is known to affect one’s immunity, it leaves the intestines more susceptible to infection. Signs of this condition include diarrhoea, vomiting, and severe abdominal pain.

Liver Diseases:

People who suffer from chronic liver conditions are strongly advised to refrain from smoking. This is because smoking is believed to contribute to aggravating the condition and is also believed to help in the progression of cirrhosis. Once the chemicals present in cigarettes get to the liver, they can work in causing oxidative stress, and this in turn, can lead to the liver cells being damaged. In addition, these chemicals prevent the liver from working efficiently in eliminating toxins from the body. Over a period of time, this can lead to irreversible damage.

Heartburn:

There is no dearth of people who complain of discomfort and pain in their upper abdomen immediately after eating, and this, in most cases, is heartburn. This is basically caused because of what’s referred to as acid indigestion or acid reflux. Various studies have identified smoking as a factor that can promote acid reflux. Quitting smoking, though, can bring about a significant positive change in this condition.

Peptic Ulcers:

Studies have shown that occurrences of most cases of peptic ulcers are because of factors that include bacterial infections, reactions to certain kinds of medications, and smoking. Yes, studies have shown that the occurrence of peptic ulcers is more common in smokers as compared to non-smokers. This is because smoking is known to produce an inconsistent effect on the secretion of gastric acid, and also affects upper gastrointestinal functioning.

The simplest thing to do if you want to protect your digestive system from the perils of smoking is to quit smoking. Know that help is available in various forms, and this includes the use of NRT products, hypnosis, and different kinds of medication. What’s important though is for you to make up your mind that you really want to quit smoking.