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PMS and Quitting

It is often said that men have a better chance of quitting smoking than women. Many women feel handicapped in their ability to quit because of these comments. This video discusses the problem of perpetuating the misconception that some people don't have much of a chance at successfully quitting because of their special circumstances.

Originally from the Freedom from Nicotine board:

I periodically see the subject of PMS and quitting raised at the board. I wrote a response in a post about this last year, but realize it would be good to have a string to bring up whenever the issue is brought up again. Women should not feel handicapped in their ability to quit because they may experience symptoms of PMS or for any other reason. Both women and men have the ability to succeed under all potentially adverse situations as long as they work at maintaining their motivation and keeping their resolve reinforced to never take another puff!


The post from last year written to a specific member who inquired as to how other women dealt with PMS as ex-smokers:

You are very likely experiencing more smoking thoughts at the moment because of your PMS symptoms. This is not saying that sustaining your quit will be difficult every time you experience a menstrual cycle, or that your symptoms are going to be better or worse than they were when you were smoking. It is just likely that the first time you experience your normal monthly cycle smoking thoughts are going to be triggered.

The same thing happens to men and women when there is any change in a physical situation, especially one that they have encountered numerous times in the past. It is like when people catch colds or a flues for the first time after quitting. Every other time they had colds or a flu during their adult years they were smokers. Their rate of smoking was likely affected by these infections. When symptoms were peaking, meaning when their throats were real raw and breathing difficult they likely cut back to a bare minimum amount of smoking. They were likely experiencing increases in withdrawal symptoms whenever they had such infections. When the cold or fly symptoms finally started to dissipate, they likely increased their consumption quickly in an effort to get their nicotine levels where they need to be to stave off withdrawal.

This phenomena could easily result in a person getting increased thoughts for cigarettes the first time they get an infection after quitting. It may not be so much so when they first get sick, but more likely when they first start to get well after being sick. The change in status from feeling ill to feeling normal is a new trigger circumstance for the person.

Keep in mind, it is only new the first time a person goes though this kind of change of physical status. The next time they get a similar infection the thoughts are likely to be less pronounced and after numerous repeats the thoughts toward smoking will likely become non-existent. Not smoking will become a habit for a sick or recovering person. The same principle applies to the normal changes in your body that you are experiencing during your monthly cycles. The first time is quite awkward with smoking thoughts being triggered more than normal. Over time though these thoughts will not likely occur for you will have broken the associations from surviving through the first encounters with your quit intact.

You can go through our board's go back one month option and see how many of the woman at our site seem to have panicking posts complaining of intense smoking thoughts month after month after month on any kind of regular pattern. The fact is there are no such posts on the board because after the first few months not smoking becomes a habit even during times of menstruation.

To keep this quit on the course of getting easier and easier over time is still just as simple as staying totally committed even during tough times to the commitment you made when you first joined up to never take another puff!


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Reformatted 07/04/18 by John R. Polito