Hormones and the body's immune system are inseparably associated, connected like an interwoven web. It's no wonder, then, that at times when the female body goes through hormonal transitions, such as during puberty, menstruation, pregnancy, or in this case, menopause, allergies and other bodily ailments can kick into overdrive.
As women approach menopause, many begin to experience a heightened sensitivity to allergies that previously had only subtle effects, or new allergies might spring up seemingly out of nowhere. The best way to attain allergy relief is to understand allergies as related to menopause, their causes, and finally, the treatment options available. Continue reading to learn all about allergies during menopause.
Allergies are present when a person's immune system reacts abnormally to foreign substances that are typically harmless to most people. Perhaps the most common example is an allergy to pollen. In this case, pollen would be known as an allergen.
When a person is allergic to something, the immune system mistakenly identifies the substance as harmful, and in an attempt to protect the body, produces a type of antibody, at the source of an allergic reaction, known as an IgE antibody. These antibodies spark chemical reactions in certain cells, namely the release of a chemical called histamine into the bloodstream. Many people, especially allergy sufferers, are familiar with histamine, which is the chemical that inflames tissue and is responsible for runny noses, sneezing, rashes, or whatever an individual's allergic reaction might be.
For those with allergies, histamine becomes part of an allergic response that can range from relatively minor symptoms to life-threatening, full-body reactions.
Symptoms of allergies
Because there is such a wide array of allergies that different people have, the symptoms are vast as well. Allergy symptoms can range from mild to severe, and some allergies can cause multiple symptoms in an individual. An extremely severe allergic reaction is called anaphylaxis. Although anaphylaxis is rare, if not treated, it can cause very serious health concerns and even death. Below are allergy symptoms, separated into mild, moderate, and severe.
• Itchy, watery eyes
• Difficulty breathing
• Varying degrees of swelling that can make breathing and swallowing difficult
• Abdominal pain
• Mental confusion or dizziness
Types of allergies
Many people have allergies to animal fur and dander, pollen, and certain types of food. But really, almost anything can be a cause of allergy in a person. The Food and Drug Administration (FDA) recognized eight foods as being common allergens, including: peanuts, tree nuts, eggs, milk, shellfish, fish, wheat, soy, and sulphites (a chemical often found in flavors and colors in foods). The world is filled with potential allergens, which create various types of allergies. Those common types are the following:
One recent study determined that perimenopausal women who'd not had their periods for six months experienced an 80% increase in respiratory symptoms associated with asthma compared to those who were menstruating regularly.
Hay fever. Is the most common of the allergic diseases and refers to seasonal nasal symptoms that are due to pollens.
Asthma. Is a breathing problem that results from the inflammation and spasm of the lung's air passages.
Allergic eyes. Is inflammation of the tissue layers that cover the surface of the eyeball and the undersurface of the eyelid.
Allergic eczema. Is an allergic rash that is usually not caused by skin contact with an allergen. It's usually associated with hay fever of asthma.
Hives. Are skin reactions that appear as itchy swellings and can occur on any part of the body.
Allergic shock. Is a life-threatening allergic reaction that can affect a number of organs at the same time. This response typically occurs when the allergen is eaten (for example, foods) or injected (for example, a bee sting).
Continue reading below to find out more information about the causes of allergies during menopause.
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Causes of Allergies
The body's hormones and the immune system use many of the same chemical messengers that allergies can react from. Changes in any of the individual components can affect the rest of the overall workings of the body; So, when hormones become imbalanced as a result of menopause (or any other period of time that hormone fluctuations are likely to occur), the immune system can suffer and make a woman more prone to allergies.
If neither parent has allergies, the chance that a child will have allergies is about 15%. If one parent is allergic, the risk increases to 30%, and if both are allergic, your risk is greater than 60%.
As menopause approaches, a woman's body prepares to cease menstruation for the remainder of her life. A necessary step is for her hormones, particularly estrogen and progesterone, to drastically decrease.
Hormone level fluctuations can have a significant impact on both the incidence of allergies and the severity of allergy symptoms. Although the mechanisms are not always well understood, changes in hormone levels are frequently associated with the development of allergies or changes in allergy symptoms, particularly for hay fever, asthma, and dermatitis.
Triggers of allergies
Along with hormonal causes of allergies, other factors can trigger increased susceptibility to allergies or intensified symptoms. Some of those factors include: diet, some types of medications, and stress.
Continue reading to learn more about the treatment options available for allergies during menopause.
Menopause can bring with it a whole host of symptoms, including new skin allergies. These skin allergies can be a direct or indirect result of menopause. This article describes the most common triggers of skin allergies during menopause, including heightened sensitivity, lifestyle changes, and unbalanced hormone levels.
Many women find themselves suffering from new food allergies during menopause without realizing that the two are related. Unbalanced hormones can have an unsettling affect upon the immune system, making your body more susceptible to new allergies. This article describes the top three hidden triggers of food allergies in menopausal women.
Treatment for Allergies
There are just about as many treatments for allergies as there are allergens that cause allergies. But when treating allergies, it's important to begin with treatment methods that are the least obtrusive, with the least likelihood of side effects and progress from there.
This means that lifestyle changes are the best place to begin to search for alleviation from allergies. For instance, instead of immediately rushing to the drugstore for hay fever medications, try shutting the windows of the house to prevent pollen from entering, or get an air filter that can drastically reduce allergic particles in the air. These are just a couple examples of altering habits around the house to stymie allergies.
Typically, combining lifestyle changes and alternative medicine will produce the best outcome. Alternative medicine can be different herbs and supplements, or even techniques like acupuncture. When seeking out alternative medicine, keep in mind that because allergies are associated with hormones, look for a treatment that bring a natural balance to the hormonal levels, for this will go a long way to subdue reactions from allergies.
Finally, if still unsatisfied with the treatment results of the above two approaches, there are multitudes of different medications or even surgery that can be explored. For instance, allergy shots, prescribed drugs, or over-the-counter medications can bring relief. However, this approach generally comes with the most side effects.
Click on the following link to learn specific treatments for allergies, which begin with lifestyle changes, move onto alternative medicine, and finally, if those options don't seem to help, medications and surgery. The most effective treatments for allergies typically combine lifestyle changes and alternative medicine.
Allergies can become a particular problem during times of hormonal imbalance, including menopause. One of the ways these allergies an manifest themselves is through swollen eyes. Fortunately, there are things you can do to reduce the swelling. This article describes four home remedies which can help towards reducing eye puffiness.
Allergies are one of the lesser-known symptoms of menopause. This article describes five ways in which allergies that develop during menopause can be remedied naturally, including leaving windows open, consuming vitamin C, using petroleum jelly, applying olive oil to your skin, and eating more onions.
- Groch, Judith. "Menopause Linked to Decreased Lung Function and Asthma Risk". Med Page Today. www.medpagetoday.com
- Price, Dr. Dzung. "The Hormone-Allergy Connection". Ask Doctor Yung. www.askdoctoryung.com.
- Szeftel, Alan, MD. "Allergy/Allergies". MedicineNet. www.medicinet.com.