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Welcome to the Change the Cycle blog! We’ll be here every week, talking all things below-the-belt health – from heavy periods, to fibroids to pelvic health conditions, and more. We hope you’ll follow along to engage, learn and share with your friends and family.

Spring Allergies? An Irregular Period May Play A Role

by admin
April 5, 2018

Spring is in the air, which means allergy season is just around the corner. If spring sends you into a fit of sneezing, headaches or other symptoms related to allergies, you’re not alone. Over 50 million Americans suffer from allergies each year.  In 2015, an estimated 24 million people in the U.S. suffered from asthma, which is often triggered by an allergic reaction.1 Research shows that in addition to women being more prone to allergies and asthma than men following puberty, the condition is often more severe.2,3

If you suffer from seasonal allergies, they could be more tied to your overall health than you realize. In fact, women with asthma or allergies are even more likely to have irregular periods, research shows.4

The causes of irregular periods are varied, and include:5

In one study, researchers collected data on 8,588 women between 25 and 42 years, finding asthma and allergies were higher in women with irregular periods compared to those with regular periods.4

The study backs up the long-held belief that hormones may play a part in lung health and the development of allergies and asthma. Among younger women, irregular periods were more common in those who weighed more and among those who were shortest and tallest. In older women, irregular periods were also linked with smoking.4

Keeping your asthma/allergy symptoms in check

When an allergic reaction happens, our immune systems react to allergens, like pollen, mold, animal dander, certain foods or irritants to the skin. The body responds by producing antibodies called IgE, which travel to cells that release chemicals, like histamine, and trigger an allergic reaction.6 Additionally, some research has shown that estrogen at certain points of the menstrual cycle may influence inflammation and lung function.3

Keeping track of your menstrual cycle could give you a heads up on when those pesky allergy or asthma symptoms may occur. Make sure to:

  • Talk with your doctor: If symptoms worsen, ask your doctor about possible remedies.
  • Monitor your symptoms: Pay attention to your symptoms right before your period, so you can determine if there’s a pattern during your menstrual cycle.
  • Be prepared. Keep antihistamines or inhalers handy.
  • Avoid triggers. Understand what triggers your asthma or allergies, and do your best to avoid exposure.

If you’re experiencing irregular or heavy periods, it may be time for you to consult with your doctor. He or she can recommend a treatment that is right for you.

References

  1. American College of Allergy, Asthma & Immunology. Allergy Facts. 2014. http://acaai.org/news/facts-statistics/allergies. Accessed February 16, 2018.
  2. Blackwell DL, Villarroel MA. Tables of Summary Health Statistics for U.S. Adults: 2015 National Health Interview Survey. National Center for Health Statistics. 2016. http://www.cdc.gov/nchs/nhis/SHS/tables.htm. Accessed February 20, 2018.
  3. Bonds RS, Midoro-Horiuti T. Estrogen effects in allergy and asthma. Curr Opin Allergy Clin Immunol. 2013;13(1): 92–99. doi:  1097/ACI.0b013e32835a6dd6. Accessed February 20, 2018.
  4. Svanes C, Real FG, Gislason T, Jansson C, et al. Association of asthma and hay fever with irregular menstruation. Thorax. 2005;60:445-450. http://dx.doi.org/10.1136/thx.2004.032615. Accessed February 16, 2018.
  5. National Institutes of Health. Eunice Kennedy Shriver National Institute of Child Health and Human Development. What causes menstrual irregularities? 2017. https://www.nichd.nih.gov/health/topics/menstruation/conditioninfo/causes. Accessed February 20, 2018.
  6. American Academy of Allergy Asthma & Immunology. Allergic reactions. http://www.aaaai.org/conditions-and-treatments/library/at-a-glance/allergic-reactions. Accessed February 20, 2018.

 

In-text references

  1. American College of Allergy, Asthma & Immunology. Allergy Facts. 2014. http://acaai.org/news/facts-statistics/allergies. Accessed February 16, 2018.
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