Side effects of quitting smoking - what happens after I stop smoking?
Have you decided to stop smoking? Here you can read about what happens in your body after you stop smoking.
Some of the symptoms of withdrawal can be quite unpleasant but hang in there! It will pass. Once you smoke your last cigarette, a lot of positive things start happening in your body. 😊 Some of the positive things that happen after quitting may be experienced as unpleasant side effects. But this is just your body working hard to heal itself and reset itself to a smoke-free state. You may experience dizziness, headaches and tingling sensations in the hands and feet. Cough and sore throat are not uncommon. Your stomach can act up a bit, with nausea and constipation.
But it will pass with time, and there are things you can do to relieve the discomfort. Read about 10 of the most common side effects here and what you can do to alleviate them.
10 common side effects and how you can control them
When you quit smoking, your metabolism drops, and it takes longer to burn calories from the food you eat. This sets you up to gain weight after you quit smoking. ⚖
It is not a good feeling when your clothes start to fit a little tighter than they used to. Maybe it even feels a bit unfair when you are fighting so hard to quit smoking. There is a risk that you might start weighing up the health benefits of quitting against unwanted weight gain.
Your skin is guaranteed to improve when you quit smoking.
Did you quit smoking only to break out with acne? Poor skin and acne are not related to quitting smoking. On the contrary, smoking makes acne worse. Every time you smoke, the supply of oxygen to your skin is reduced. This makes your skin drier.
Cough and sore throat
Your damaged mucous membranes begin to heal. This can make your throat feel itchy and irritated. You may get a cough and may cough up discoloured phlegm.
But don't be alarmed! This is your lungs cleansing themselves, and the discomfort will disappear in time. 😉
Constipation and nausea
Some people may experience nausea when they stop smoking. If you used to get things moving by smoking a cigarette, your nausea may be caused by constipation. Once you get things moving again, your nausea will subside.
Prunes are a proven home remedy to help clear up constipation. They can work wonders! Try putting some flax seeds in water then mixing the flax seeds with puréed prunes.
It can also help get things moving faster if you are a little more active than usual. Fibre-rich foods, fruits and vegetables help keep your digestion working optimally. Drink lots of water! 💧
Your body has grown accustomed to a certain amount of nicotine.
When you quit, you may suffer from withdrawal. Strong cigarette cravings are the most common symptom and usually last around 20-30 seconds. Those few seconds can feel like an eternity.
Try setting a timer on your mobile for 30 seconds and do something else until the timer beeps.
Take a little stroll, listen to a favourite song, pour yourself a glass of water. Try a few different things. You are sure to find something that will help you get through the cravings.
Certain types of headache are common when you quit smoking. They tend to come and go. But fortunately, the headaches won't last very long. They tend to get milder and then disappear entirely.
In the meantime, there a variety of ways to alleviate the pain. See what works best for you.
Ginger and strong spices are said to help. Massage, yoga and stretching can help relax your muscles. Cooling down is another tip; an ice cube on the temple or a cold towel around the neck can quickly relieve the pain. 🧊
Anxiety and depression
Withdrawal and strong cigarette cravings can get you down. One reason may be that your body is short on the happiness-promoting hormone, dopamine.
When you feel your mood bottom out, try some pineapple, salmon or chickpeas. 🍍 These foods can help your body produce dopamine. Tomatoes, pumpkin seeds and oats are other potential mood boosters.
Sleep disturbances are common when you stop smoking. You may also feel a little more tired than usual. But it won’t last forever!
Your sleep problems will resolve after a few weeks, and you will probably sleep much better than you did when you were a smoker.
Studies have shown that smokers have poorer sleep quality than non-smokers.
Take a good look at your bedroom.
Perhaps you should treat yourself to a really comfortable new bed?
Set the temperature in your bedroom to 16-18 degrees.
Take a walk outdoors at lunch. Exposure to daylight during the day makes it easier to fall asleep when it gets dark in the evening.
Dizziness is unpleasant but completely harmless. 🥴 This is caused by increased blood flow through the vessels in combination with a drop in blood pressure and heart rate.
Don’t worry! You can help deal with the dizziness that comes from stopping smoking by drinking plenty of water and getting active.
How long will side effects last after I quit smoking?
The physical need for nicotine will subside after two weeks. You will also see the side effects of quitting start to disappear.