Did you know that there is a strong connection between hormones and asthma? As researchers focus specifically on women and their health issues, new information has made this connection obvious. While males are more susceptible to childhood asthma, females become more susceptible to intrinsic asthma as they go through puberty and pregnancy.
In many cases menstruation can worsen the symptoms of asthma. Reproductive hormones cause smooth muscles to spasm and tissues to swell. These physiological changes can lead to symptoms of coughing, wheezing and shortness of breath.
Menopause and Asthma Decline
The fact that asthma decreases with the decline of female reproductive hormones during menopause is a strong case for the link between these hormones and asthma. Women, who have asthma and elect hormone replacement therapy to relieve the symptoms of menopause, find once again, the strong appearance of asthma symptoms.
Pregnancy and Asthma in Women
Many asthma symptoms are known to worsen during pregnancy. The increase in the production of reproductive hormones in women may account for this. Therefore it’s important to continue taking asthma medication and monitoring its effectiveness throughout pregnancy.
Asthma doesn’t pose a problem in the majority of pregnancies. Avoiding common triggers and making common sense decisions can help prevent the onset of asthma symptoms and attacks. Quitting smoking or avoiding situations that involve cigarette smoke is an important step in asthma maintenance for the asthmatic pregnant woman and her fetus. Research shows that cigarette smoke can harm the fetus and lead to lung impairment of the newborn.
Asthma and Pregnancy Stats
During pregnancy, asthma symptoms:
- improve 1/3 of the time
- remain the same 1/3 of the time
- worsen 1/3 of the time.
Asthma Medication in Pregnancy
Asthmatic women are often reluctant to take the proper medication during pregnancy because of a fear of hurting the fetus. And while doctors do recommend that asthmatic women take more care with their normal asthma management routine while pregnant, most women are advised to continue taking prescribed asthma medications.
Studies suggest that most prescribed asthma medications are generally safe for the fetus. In fact, the risk of complications for a pregnant woman and her baby can be higher if asthma medication is avoided. Asthma can reduce the amount of oxygen in the mother’s blood thus compromising the oxygen levels in the fetus. Premature births, low birth weight and increased maternal blood pressure are complications that can result from uncontrolled asthma. Consult your physician for specific recommendations.
While it is important for women to maintain use of their asthma medication as needed during pregnancy it’s also important to avoid unnecessary medications. A few drugs should be avoided altogether; these include adrenaline (except when prescribed by a doctor), codeine, potassium iodide, phenobarbitone and other barbiturates, tetracycline, ciprofoxacin and aminoglycoside antibiotics.
American Academy of Allergy, Asthma