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Periods / Jayne Cherrington-Cook

How Your Period Affects Your Ability To Quit Smoking

Giving up cigs for the New Year? Scientists have discovered that your period could be the answer to much-needed willpower!

A new study published in Psychiatry Journal has shown that women’s menstrual cycles can cause changes in the brain that make it harder to resist the lure of a cigarette.

Researchers studied 34 men and women, who underwent MRI scans while looking at neutral images or those designed to make them want to smoke.

The results showed that urges to smoke were stronger at the follicular stage of your cycle, which begins just after the period ends.

“Hormonal decreases of oestrogen and progesterone possibly deepen the withdrawal syndrome and increase activity of neural circuits associated with craving,” said Adrianna Mendrek of the University of Montreal, who headed up the research.

According to her research, the best time to give up smoking is during the mid-luteal phase, after ovulation but just before your period starts. This is because levels of oestrogen and progesterone are elevated. Oestrogen for example helps with the production of endorphins. Those feel-good chemicals can help you feel better about yourself, which in turns makes it more likely that you will stick to a new regime.

However, the study was very small and Adrianna herself said that other factors are just as likely to hinder your new year’s resolution.

“Stress, anxiety and depression are probably the more important factors to take into consideration,” she said.

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