The antiestrogenic effect of cigarette smoking in women

Am J Obstet Gynecol. 1990 Feb;162(2):502-14. doi: 10.1016/0002-9378(90)90420-c.


Epidemiologic results indicate that women who smoke cigarettes are relatively estrogen-deficient. Smokers have an early natural menopause, a lowered risk of cancer of the endometrium, and an increased risk of some osteoporotic fractures. Moreover, women who smoke may have a reduced risk of uterine fibroids, endometriosis, hyperemesis gravidarum, and benign breast disease. Several possible mechanisms for these effects have been identified. Smoking does not appear to be clearly related to estradiol levels, at least in postmenopausal women, although levels of adrenal androgens are increased. Moreover, smoking appears to alter the metabolism of estradiol, leading to enhanced formation of the inactive catechol estrogens.

Publication types

  • Review

MeSH terms

  • Breast Neoplasms / etiology
  • Estrogens / deficiency*
  • Female
  • Humans
  • Male
  • Menopause
  • Osteoporosis, Postmenopausal
  • Smoking / adverse effects*
  • Uterine Neoplasms / etiology


  • Estrogens