Just before and during your period, progesterone and estrogen levels decrease. In some women, these hormone changes may worsen asthma. The relationship between hormones and asthma is complex, varies between individuals and isn't fully understood.
Other things besides women's menstrual cycles that cause changes in hormone levels also may worsen or improve asthma symptoms. These include:
- Irregular periods. Asthma symptoms in women with irregular periods may be worse than they are in women who have regular periods.
- Pregnancy. Pregnancy may increase the risk of having a severe asthma attack. For some women, however, hormone changes during pregnancy may actually improve asthma symptoms.
- Menopause. Dropping hormone levels associated with menopause may make asthma symptoms worse for some women or cause some women to develop asthma.
- Hormone replacement therapy. Hormone replacement with estrogen or progesterone may improve asthma symptoms in some women who have gone through menopause. But, study results are conflicting, and hormone replacement appears to worsen asthma in some women.
If you have bothersome asthma symptoms during your period, your doctor may recommend that you increase your asthma control medication or take a different medication before your period starts.
Oct. 10, 2014
See more Expert Answers
- Bailey W, et al. Trigger control to enhance asthma management. http://www.uptodate.com/home. Accessed July 31, 2014.
- Schatz M, et al. Management of asthma during pregnancy. http://www.uptodate.com/home. Accessed July 31, 2014.
- Jenson-Jarolim E, et al. Gender medicine aspects in allergology. Allergy. 2008;63:610.
- Rao CK, et al. Characteristics of perimenstrual asthma and its relation to asthma severity and control. Chest. 2013;143:984.
- Adult onset of asthma. Asthma and Allergy Foundation of America. http://www.aafa.org/display.cfm?id=8&sub=17&cont=157. Accessed July 31, 2014.
- Galobardes G, et al. The association between irregular menstruations and acne with asthma and atopy phenotypes. American Journal of Epidemiology. 2012;176:733.