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PMS, Menopause and Asthma: Is There A Connection?
by Dr. Loretta Lanphier, ND, CN, HHP

Research indicates that women with hormone imbalance are twice as likely to develop asthma.

According to some researchers patterns of development of asthma in the general public have indicated the possibility of some sort of hormonal role. Asthma involves inflammation that constricts muscles in the airways, causing attacks of wheezing and shortness of breath. An estimated 20 million Americans, including 14 million adults, are affected by asthma. The thought process is that the changes in estrogen and progesterone levels that occur during the menstrual cycle may cause constriction of the airways.

In a study, published in the Archives of Internal Medicine, 70,000 women were examined for the likelihood of developing asthma after menopause. The study concluded that postmenopausal women taking synthetic estrogen were more than two times (actually 2.29) likely to develop asthma than their counterparts not taking estrogen. The results were similar for women who were taking synthetic estrogen and progestin.

Below are some statistics about how asthma affects women:

  • In a recent report from the CDC, doctors reported that significantly more women than men have asthma in the United States: 9.1% of females vs. only 5.1% of males.
  • In the last decade the death rate from asthma increased 54% in women compared to only 23% for men.
  • Doctor visits increased 8% for females with asthma but decreased 23% for men.
  • A 10-year study in the Yale New Haven Hospital found that females with severe asthma were admitted to the hospital almost twice as often as men with severe asthma. These same females stayed in the hospital almost a day longer than their male counterparts.

Asthma is found to be more common in boys than girls. At the time of puberty, asthma occurs in boys and girls equally. After puberty, women are more likely than men to have asthma. Therefore as a woman’s hormonal system matures it may play a role in the changing prevalence of asthma.

Studies have shown that approximately one third of women report that their symptoms are worse just before or during menstruation, with the most severe attacks usually occurring three days before and four days into the menstrual period. Some research indicates that in women with PMS asthma, the rise in progesterone and sharp decline in estrogen shortly before menstruation increase the risk for asthma attacks. Further evidence of the hormone-asthma link was discovered after a lengthy study by researchers at Brigham and Women’s Hospital in Boston. They found that synthetic hormone replacement therapy may as much as double the risk of developing asthma in postmenopausal women.

It now appears that HRT may also increase the risk of developing asthma or a respiratory allergy, according to research released by the European Respiratory Society which is held in Vienna. Women on HRT were 40 to 50% more likely to suffer from asthma or to exhibit asthma symptoms. The increased risk rose to 60% in the case of allergic asthma. Women on HRT were 30% more often affected by hay fever.

Researcher Dr. R. Graham Barr of Columbia Presbyterian Medical Center acknowledged that women who take prescription hormones might be more likely to be diagnosed with asthma simply because they might have more doctors' visits than nonusers. But they also found an increased asthma risk among synthetic hormone users who had few doctors' visits. Estrogen tends to make cells retain more fluid, which might narrow lung airways, Barr said. Also, some data have shown that synthetic hormone supplements can increase levels of certain inflammatory markers in the blood, which might also affect asthma risk.

If you are a woman and have asthma what can you do?

For women who find a relationship between their menstrual cycles and asthma or develop asthma later in life while using synthetic hormones, there is a way to balance out the hormones using natural bio-identical progesterone. One theory is that the decrease in progesterone levels that occurs a few days before the menstrual cycle may contribute to the heightened probability of an asthma attack.

Progesterone has been found to decrease the contractility of smooth muscle and contribute greatly to the relaxation of bronchial smooth muscle induced by isoproterenol. Progesterone has also been found to act as a bronchodilator in women who experience premenstrual worsening of asthma. The sudden drop in progesterone levels before the menstrual cycle can trigger bronchoconstriction. Because progesterone is important in the regulation of microvascular leakage in airways, a decrease in progesterone may lead to airway mucosal edema. Progesterone may also have anti-inflammatory effects on the body.

Natural Ways to Treat Hormonal Imbalance and Asthma include:

Keep a diary of your symptoms and compare it to your menstrual cycle. Notice any patterns.

Aspirin and other non-steroid medications such as Advil and Aleve can worsen asthma symptoms.
These drugs are commonly used for relief of menstrual cramps and have recently been proven unsafe to use on a regular basis. Natural progesterone is excellent in the relief of menstrual cramps. Another excellent product is NOPAINE topically applied.

Educate yourself about natural progesterone for the use of hormonal imbalance. We recommend Oasis Serene and Oasis Serene Plus bio-identical, all-natural progesterone cream available at

Body Cleansing and Detoxification: Every six months perform a total liver/gallbladder, digestive tract and parasite cleanse. You can find instructions at

Diet – Concentrate on foods that don’t promote mucus production such as raw organic fruits and vegetables, limited whole grains, organic seeds, organic-free-range poultry and cold-water fish. Include one clove of garlic in your daily diet. Use two tablespoons of ground flaxseed daily for omega-3 fatty acids. Omega-3s act as an anti-inflammatory on the body. Eliminate all dairy, sugar, pre-packaged foods and fried foods. Avoid foods that cause gas. Try to eat five small meals a day. Bottom line: Eat as close to nature as possible.

Water – Drink half your body weight in ounces of pure, clean water every day. This will continually flush toxins from the system. According to experts, water is helpful after an asthma attack in breaking up mucus.

Magnesium – Take 250 mg two to four times each day. If loose stools should occur, reduce dosage. Magnesium Orotate is the best form of magnesium. Magnesium acts as a muscle relaxant and may therefore improve lung function. Will also help with PMS symptoms.

Systemic and Digestive Enzymes – This will improve the absorption of nutrients from food and will help to decrease food reactions.

Quercitin – 1,000 mg three times daily. Anti-inflammatory and anti-allergy.

Vitamin C – 1,000 mg two to ten times daily. You must build up to bowel tolerance. Vitamin C has antihistamine benefits which will help with inflammation.

Yamoa - YAMOA POWDER has been used in Ghana for many years to treat respiratory allergies. It is a natural product from the Funtumia Elastica gum tree, and when taken on a relatively short-term basis, can help with the symptoms of conditions such as, asthma, hay fever, bronchitis, sinusitis and COPD, in many cases for the long term. Special order from

Massage – Massing the back using NOPAINE will relax the bronchial muscles. To break up congestion use one of the specialty rubber mallets to gently pound the back. For PMS symptoms massage NOPAINE into the abdominal area.

Aromatherapy – Diffuse high-quality essential oils through a diffuser. Oils that open the airways and loosen congestion are lavender, tea tree and eucalyptus.

Exercise – Exercise increases the ability for the lungs to take in oxygen. Walking for 30 minutes each day is preferable. If it is cold outside, then use a treadmill in the home. Educate yourself about deep breathing and do this daily. Exercise also helps to alleviate some symptoms of menopause and PMS.

Air Purification – Use an ionic air purifier to keep the air clean in your home and office. This is especially important if you work in an office or live in a home that is older than five years.

As you can see using a whole-body approach will help to alleviate hormonal imbalance which may result in the alleviation of asthma, especially during the days before and after the menstrual cycle. For more information on how to bring the body into total health see our e-book, Balancing Your Hormones Without Drugs…You Can Feel Good Again which is a great place to begin your education. Not only will you learn how to balance the hormonal system, but in return will help to reduce or eliminate your asthma. Asthma is controllable and in many instances reversible but it takes desire, discipline and determination. I encourage you to begin now to bring your body back to total health and well-being.

Loretta Lanphier, ND, CN, HHP is a Doctor of Naturopath, Clinical Nutritionist and Holistic Health Practitioner in the Houston, TX area and CEO/President of Oasis Advanced Wellness. A teacher, educator and author, she counsels Oasis Advanced Wellness clients on the aspects of getting the body healthy and keeping the body healthy. As a cancer survivor, she is able to relate extensively, both as a patient and a practitioner, to clients suffering from disease. Dr. Lanphier has been privileged to share her cancer survival story with hundreds of people during seminars and lectures. Her passionate style of truth and straight-forwardnessin an easy-to-understand format is very refreshing to even the most discerning of audiences. Dr. Lanphier is the author of two books and many articles on health conditions written from a natural/alternative medicine viewpoint. Dr. Lanphier is dedicated to helping people create lasting changes in their health and enhancing well-being through whole body nutritional balancing including physician strength supplementation. Dr. Lanphier is Editor and contributor to the worldwide newsletter Alternative Health & Healing.




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