Impact of Allergies and Asthma on Women

Allergies and asthma have no limits and can impact anyone, though research has shown that women may be affected differently than men. Changes in estrogen may lead to changes in asthma and allergy symptoms throughout a woman's life, and this blog explores a few of those scenarios.


Hormones can impact asthma more than people may think. One way this is shown is simply in the prevalence of asthma:

  • Asthma is more prevalent in pre-school aged boys than girls.
  • But, once puberty age hits and estrogen rises, the prevalence in girls increases.
  • In adulthood, women continue to be diagnosed with asthma as their estrogen levels continue to change, while men are diagnosed at a lower rate in adulthood.

It’s also shown in the risk for hospitalization. Men are at the highest risk of being hospitalized for asthma at age five, and women are at the highest risk of being hospitalized at age 50.

Hormones impact on asthma is prevalent during pregnancy as well: asthma symptoms worsen for 40% of women when they are pregnant, and 20% of those cases require intervention. Some studies also show that asthma is worse on the first day of menstruation, or in the days right before menstruation, when estrogen levels fluctuate.

These stats all lead to the hypothesis that estrogen promotes allergic-like responses, and can cause flares in asthma and allergies, too.


Allergies can, and do, fluctuate with hormonal changes – especially during pregnancy. Many women experience allergic rhinitis and sinusitis for the first time when they’re pregnant. It’s nicknamed pregnancy-rhinitis and can include sinus pressure and/or pain, toothaches and ear pressure, as well as typical seasonal allergy symptoms.

Another “bonus” of pregnancy – eczema (often an allergic condition) can worsen. 50% of all pregnancy-related skin conditions are determined to be eczema.

Though very rare, a mom can experience new anaphylaxis, or a first experience with anaphylaxis during pregnancy. It happens in 2.7 out of 100,000 pregnancies and is usually due to antibiotics. While the fetus is protected from anaphylaxis, it can be extremely dangerous for mom, and often calls for an emergency c-section.


Treating the cause of the underlying allergy can help to keep symptoms low during all phases of life, even as estrogen levels fluctuate. Allergy Associates of La Crosse treats the cause of allergy with allergy drops that slowly introduce the body to the problem allergens that cause symptoms. Over time, the amount of allergen is safely increased until the body becomes used to the allergens and learns to not react.

If you’re interested in changing the course of your allergic disease, reach out to Allergy Associates of La Crosse to schedule an exam and allergy testing.