Menstrual cycle makes it harder for women to quit smoking when compared to men, the research says. According to the study conducted by the University of Montreal, it is difficult for women to abandon smoking at the onslaught of the follicular phase that takes place after menstruation.

The study have been concluded based on the results of the tests conducted by Professor Adrianna Mendrek on 34 men and women who smoke more than 15 cigarettes a day. The results were published in Psychiatry Journal.  

Undergoing MRI brain scan was a part of the test, that recorded their reactions as they looked at pictures which would create an urge for cigarette.

Women underwent scanning twice to record the results at the varying stages of the menstrual cycle. Their estrogen and  progesterone levels were also recorded.

 ''Menstrual cycle can help women to stop smoking''. The reports suggest that during the initial stage of the follicular phase, there is a stronger urge to smoke,'' Professor Mendrek said.

''Decrease in estrogen and progesterone levels can stimulate the urge to smoke by increasing the activity of neural circuits associated with craving,'' the research says.

Due to evident sex differences, women can have a hard time while quitting smoking when compared to men, Professor Mendrek's team said.

''Women are willing to work harder for the same quantity of dose and hence become easily addicted,'' Mendrek explained.

She added important factors like stress, anxiety and depression should be taken into the consideration. Due to which, tobacco use amongst young people and women is unfortunately increasing.

It is hoped the findings will encourage researchers to pay greater attention to biology.

'A greater knowledge of the neurobiological mechanisms governing addiction should enable us to better target treatment according to the smokers profile,' Professor Mendrek said.

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