Problems for women with asthma

Possible problems

Possible solutions

Women with asthma may have worsening asthma symptoms prior to or during their menstrual bleeding which may be related to hormonal fluctuations.
  1. Use your diary to observe and record peak flow rates, asthma symptoms, triggers, etc. throughout your menstrual cycle.
  2. You may observe a pattern in your symptoms related to hormone fluctuations during your cycle so that you can anticipate these symptoms in the future.
  3. If you have worsening asthma symptoms associated with your menstrual cycle, bring your diaries to your asthma and OB/GYN doctors to discuss an action plan to prevent these symptoms. Your plan can help you adjust your asthma and/or hormone medications.
Pregnancy may exacerbate asthma; uncontrolled asthma may complicate pregnancy.
  1. Tell your OB/GYN doctor that you have asthma and your asthma doctor that you are pregnant.
  2. Be sure both of your doctors are aware of your “revised for pregnancy” asthma care plan.
  3. Use your asthma diaries to observe and record peak flow rates and symptoms to stay aware of early warning signs of worsening symptoms. Follow your care plan closely to prevent an asthma flare.
Estrogen Replacement Therapy (ERT) may increase hormonal fluctuations in post-menopausal women that may cause asthma symptoms to worsen.
  1. Be sure your OB/GYN knows you have asthma and what medicines you take for it.
  2. Use your asthma diaries to look for associations between ERT and your asthma symptoms.
  3. If you see patterns, share these with your asthma and OB/GYN doctors so you can establish an appropriate care plan that includes medication adjustments when symptoms change.
Asthma symptoms such as coughing may intensify urinary leakage/ incontinence.
  1. Talk to both your asthma and OB/GYN doctors about your problems.
  2. With your doctors’ help, adjust your asthma care plan to better control symptoms such as coughing.
  3. Discuss treatment options for urinary leakage and incontinence with your OB/GYN.
Asthma as well as migraines may be triggered by allergic and immune responses. Symptoms of both diseases can be influenced by hormonal changes during the menstrual cycle.
  1. Tell your doctors you have asthma and migraines.
  2. Use your diaries to look for patterns that may link migraines to your asthma symptoms, peak flows, triggers, etc.
  3. Be sure your asthma care plan directs you to adjust medications as your symptoms change.
Other triggers may include perfumes, fragrances, cosmetics, hair care products, household cleaning chemicals, etc.
  1. Identify your asthma triggers.
  2. Avoid or reduce exposure to known triggers.
  3. Get your doctors’ advice on trigger avoidance and control measures.
Women’s social roles, tasks, and activities may increase exposure to certain triggers such as dusting, vacuuming, cleaning, cooking, shopping and childcare.
  1. Get your doctors’ advice on trigger avoidance and control measures.
  2. Enlist your family members to help you control your asthma. Change who does what around the house so that you are not exposed to known triggers. For example, ask your spouse/partner to vacuum while you take out the trash.
  3. Talk to your doctor about whether you should use medication before doing an activity like exercise or dusting that might trigger your asthma.

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