Do you use estrogen hormone replacement therapy? If so, you may be surprised to know this could be to blame if you've recently been diagnosed with asthma. This finding, from a study of post-menopausal women that was conducted in France in the winter of 2010, could provide an important link between how you treat your hormonal imbalance and the onset of new respiratory symptoms.

The Findings

The scientists who performed this research followed nearly 60,000 women for a 12-year-period to find out the effects that their hormone therapy had on their health status. Interestingly enough, those women who used hormone replacement therapy had a 21 percent greater likelihood of developing asthma than their peers who had never tried this method.

But while this is a significant number, even more striking is the fact that the women who used estrogen only treatment (rather than a combination hormone replacement therapy) were at even greater risk of being diagnosed with asthma. In fact, among the estrogen-only group, the women had a greater than 50 percent increase in their risk of having asthma, when compared with women who didn't take any hormone replacement therapy. These findings were included in the Thorax medical journal online in February of 2010. 

The Estrogen Piece

It's also important to note that while the relationship between taking female hormone supplements and the onset of respiratory symptoms isn't new, this study is the first to find that estrogen-only therapy is so strongly connected to an increased risk for getting asthma. Further, the researchers noticed that the risk was highest among women who've never smoked and also among those who have allergies.

What this Means for You

If you're a post-menopausal woman who's bothered by your change of life symptoms, this means that it's important to look at the big picture before you make any decisions on how to treat the problem. Be sure to know what benefits hormone replacement therapy can bring, such as a reduction in hear flashes, personal dryness issues and other discomforts. Some studies have found that it can be protective against colon cancer, too.

On the flip side, using hormone replacement therapy also comes with some serious risks. In addition to increasing your possibility of suffering from asthma, some people also believe that this treatment method increases your odds of getting breast cancer, ovarian cancer and strokes.

Make an Educated Decision

Therefore, before you make any final decisions, you'll need to sit down with your doctor to review your post-menopausal symptoms and your risks. If he does feel that you're a good candidate for hormone replacement therapy, your best scenario may be to at least avoid an estrogen-only option. You can also consider trying natural remedies to see if these can give you relief without causing any risk of developing asthma.


Thorax Online