9 Urologic Conditions Impacted by Smoking

April 02,2020 |
smoking urological issues

It’s no secret that smoking is a terrible habit that wreaks havoc on your health. The chemicals and toxins that are inhaled from just one cigarette course through the body and affect nearly every cell, system, and organ. Over time, these chemicals and toxins build up and contribute to a variety of health problems. Smoking increases your risk of sudden death, cardiovascular disease, and a number of urologic conditions. In this article, we’ll cover 9 urologic conditions impacted by smoking. If you’re currently a smoker and are having trouble quitting, talk to your doctor today about forming a smoking cessation plan that will work for you. Even though it seems hard, it is possible to quit now and take back your health.

  1. Erectile Dysfunction

    Erectile dysfunction is a common urologic condition that’s strongly impacted by smoking. It occurs when you’re unable to get or maintain an erection, making it difficult or impossible to have intercourse. Erectile dysfunction is fairly common and affects roughly 20-30 million American men every year.1 There are a lot of different factors that can cause erectile dysfunction and some men experience it more often than others. The underlying physiological cause of an erection is a lack of sufficient blood flow. Since smoking has a direction relation to your circulation, it will worsen the symptoms of erectile dysfunction and increase the frequency in which it occurs.

    As with many urologic conditions, erectile dysfunction often gets worse as you age, but it can occur at any time after puberty. If you’re young and are experiencing erectile dysfunction, it’s likely that smoking is the cause. Talk to your doctor today.

  2. Bladder Cancer

    Smoking contributes to the development of many cancers, as we’ll come to learn in this article. Bladder cancer occurs when the cells in your bladder start to mutate and replicate, forming growths and attributing to a range of urologic side effects. Bladder cancer represents roughly 5% of new cancer cases each year and becomes more common as you age.2 Men are three to four times more likely to get bladder cancer than women are and you should take as many precautions as possible.2

    To reduce your chances of developing bladder cancer, it’s important to quit smoking. Smokers are four to seven times more likely to develop bladder cancer than nonsmokers.2 The chemicals in cigarettes affect the lining of the bladder and therefore, increase your risk of dangerous mutations.2 Seeing your urologist regularly can help catch bladder cancer, and other urologic conditions, early.

  3. Kidney Cancer

    Kidney cancer is in the top ten most common cancers for both men and women.1 Smoking increases your risk for developing kidney cancer as the smoke inhalation eventually ends up in the bloodstream. From here, the blood gets carried into the kidneys for filtration. When the chemicals in the blood are filtered out, they get stuck in the kidneys and strain the body.1 Over time, the buildup of these chemicals can lead to cancer. Your risk for developing kidney cancer greatly decreases when you quit smoking, so talk to your doctor today if you need help.

  4. Prostate Cancer

    While smoking is attributed to a higher rate of cancer in general, it’s also been found as a risk factor for prostate cancer. Since doctors aren’t clear what the causes of prostate cancer are and it’s the most common cancer in men, it’s important to quit smoking to reduce your risk. Smoking increases inflammation in your body, including in your prostate, which increases your risk for developing cancer.3 It was also found that smoking tends to make the disease more aggressive and therefore harder to treat.3 The oxidative damage is easily avoidable—all you need to do is quit smoking.

  5. Kidney Stones

    Some people are plagued by kidney stones regularly throughout their life and others will never get them. They’re fairly common and are often small enough to pass without any medical intervention. However, in certain cases kidney stones can get very large and require surgery or other treatments to break the stones down. This can be a very painful process and many people who have had a kidney stone will do everything they can to avoid experiencing that again. Unfortunately, if you smoke, you’re putting yourself at a high risk for developing kidney stones. In fact, about 26% of patients who experienced kidney stones are smokers.3

    If you’re dealing with kidney stones, there are a few things you can do to reduce discomfort such as staying hydrated and reducing protein intake. If you feel like you’re unable to pass a kidney stone on your own, it’s important to see a doctor and get a proper diagnosis so that you can work towards a treatment plan. In addition to quitting smoking, here are some great ways to prevent kidney stones.

  6. Overactive Bladder

    Another common urologic condition that is impacted by smoking is overactive bladder. Overactive bladder is a condition where you feel like you have to use the bathroom frequently, regardless of if you’re bladder is actually full or not. It affects roughly 33 million Americans and can present itself in different ways.2 People who suffer from overactive bladder may suffer from a disrupted sleep schedule because they get up multiple times in the middle of the night to urinate and many also experience incontinence.

    One of the main causes of overactive bladder is smoking.2 Smoking is a huge irritant to the bladder and causes damage to the lining and the supporting urologic organs. Smoking can make you three times more likely to experience overactive bladder symptoms than compared to a nonsmoker and it tends to worsen as you age.2

  7. Infertility

    A lot of men and women try to get pregnant for years without considering that smoking is the culprit behind unsuccessful conception. Almost 50% of infertility cases can be linked to male infertility, so it’s important to for both men and women to quit smoking.1 Smoking drastically reduces male and female fertility because smoking harms the genetic make-up in eggs and sperm, which can make conception difficult.1 Infertility for smokers is twice as high as nonsmokers, so it’s important to quit smoking if you’re trying to start a family or grow your existing one.1

  8. Interstitial Cystitis

    Interstitial cystitis is also known as painful bladder syndrome. This is a bladder issue that causes you to feel chronic pain and pressure in the bladder area.1 Many people who suffer from interstitial cystitis also deal with urinary tract infection symptoms without the presence of an infection. When you smoke, you’re putting yourself at risk for developing interstitial cystitis. Smoking causes inflammation and is a major irritant to the bladder, therefore makes interstitial cystitis worse or more painful over time.1 The best way to mitigate painful complications is to quit smoking.

  9. Incontinence

Incontinence is common as people start to age, but the symptoms and occurrences can become more severe when you smoke. Smoking increases the frequency of urination and causes serious coughing fits that can lead to urine leakage.1 While there are a number of things you can do to treat incontinence a well devised smoking cessation plan should be at the top of your list. If you’re suffering from incontinence, talk to your doctor about what you can do for treatment options.

The Importance of Quitting

While these 9 urologic conditions impacted by smoking are a good reminder why you should quit smoking, they’re not the only things affected. When you smoke a cigarette, it affects every single system in your body. It can increase your chances for cardiovascular disease, stroke, and every type of non-urologic cancer. Smoking causes dangerous chemicals to enter your body and while it’s usually extremely hard to quit, it is possible. There are so many great smoking cessation tools available online and through the recommendation of your doctor. Talk to your doctor today to see how you can get help in quitting for good and regain your urologic health and increase your lifespan.


Smoking is attributed to many problems in the body, including urologic conditions. If you notice any signs or symptoms of the urologic conditions discussed above, or are having other problems, it’s important to see your doctor immediately. Your doctor will be able to properly diagnose any urologic condition and help you develop a smoking cessation plan to quit once and for all. If you need any urological supplies or educational resources, visit our educational support page or our product selection guide. Byram Healthcare is proud to offer full-service urological care and we have all the high-quality urological supplies that you need. If you need to order any urological supplies, all of your orders can be discreetly delivered to your home, at any time of the day. If you have any urological questions or need personalized, confidential services, our teams of knowledgeable urological customer service specialists are here to help.


1 https://www.urologyhealth.org/careblog/7-urologic-conditions-impacted-by-smoking

2 https://denverurology.com/urology-blog/urologic-conditions-and-smoking/

3 https://feminapt.com/blog/how-smoking-affects-bladder-health