The War Between Ovulation and Respiration
It is hardly novel to suggest that the menstrual cycle can affect a woman’s body in significant ways. A host of symptoms have been associated with the hormonal fluctuations of this monthly gauntlet, including major changes in body temperature, appetite and mood. Now researchers have found an additional area those hormones may affect: asthma.
A recent study found that asthma and its symptoms tend to grow markedly more severe during ovulation, possibly as an inflammatory response to a spike in powerful hormones such as estrogen:
After studying nearly 4,000 women, the research team led by Haukeland University Hospital in Bergen found that symptoms such as breathlessness and wheezing worsened around the time of ovulation, the BBC reported.
It is an interesting finding that jibes with many anecdotal accounts. It also offers us a glimpse of some potential new interventions for asthma designed to act upon the same endocrine pathways as estrogen and its offshoots. At the very least, this study should stand as a helpful reminder to women everywhere that breathlessness isn’t always a sign of pollen or pollutants—sometimes it may just be a sign of powerful forces within.