I realise that the site may not relect society as a whole,but the ratio of female to male members(ooh err) seems to be about 9 to 1-is this indicative of actual figures for male/female asthma sufferers in society at large-I only ask because the only other people I know locally who suffer from asthma are female-are women more prone to asthma problems than men??


36 Replies

  • i can't remember where i read this, or even if i've ust made it up with my pred head, but as far as i know the ratio of male to female asthmatics is about equal, except when it comes to brittle asthma, which is more prevalent in the female population.

    somebody please correct me if i'm wrong or made it up.


  • I heard that too that severe and brittle asthma was more of a female thing (not sure why sorry). But things tend to even out in the moderate and mild stages.

    Tks xxx

  • According to resair, in chilren its more prevalent in males but in adults it switches and is more prevalent in females, the reasons for this are unkonwn, several site say this but none can give a reason? another reason its got t be male and c**p to be female!!!!

    andrea xxx

  • Sex Imbalance in Allergy

    Here's a copy of my previous post from October last year.

    Far more woman than men become allergic. This gives a crucial link in the immunosuppression chain of evidence, because this frequency is so frequently seen in illnesses involving the immune system such as autoimmune conditions. The female preponderance in SLE is striking, and this is an illness in which psychological factors are not an issue. It is also highly significant that the sex ratio in allergy is 50:50 till puberty. Only hormonal factors can account for the changed ratio thereafter. Several clinical studies have shown that male hormones can improve immunity and female hormones can harm it.

    (extract from allergy paper/critique presented by Fabienne Smith, allergist)


  • bummer dont depress us even more deek!!

    especially when your out numbered on here!!!! he he

    love ya andrea xxx

  • deek, have you got any wigs i could borrow that might fool my body into thinking it's male just for some respite from the asthma?

  • I seem to recall BA being more in woman. One reason could be the hormonal changes that happen around the time of menstration. Many woman with BA splatt around then, to the point where I know people who have had a full hysterectomy (including ovary removal) and it has helped no end. I got rid of all those bits years ago thankfully its bad enough without the possible hormone induced problems. Also to pretend that asthma is not related pychological issues would be wrong. I know if I am stressed the 1st thing that notices are my lungs. I hope I don't offend anyone by saying woman tend to be more likely to suffer from what I call everyday stress, kids having problems at school etc men seem better able to switch off the nagging at the back of mind constant worry that women seem to carry around. Sometimes I am so stressed after being away from family after a long admission that although I am not really well enough it is better to get me home before I end up in a vicious circle situation, that and the fact that I would probably end up killing my medical team :)Bex

  • I think women have more of an inclination to use this kind of facility for discussion and support than men are - a bit like a ""virtual chat over coffee"" type area.

    But I may be going down the old ""Men are from Mars, Women are from Venus"" psychological argument there...

  • Since its your birthday today Andrea, I thought I would cheer you up with a wee chant (as he pulls on his 80s style UB40 wig)…

    I am a one-in-nine

    Nobody knows it, but I’m always there

    A statistical reminder of a man who really cares.

    Happy Birthday Andrea!!! Oh, and do take it easy blowing oot all those candles ;o)

    Take hair,


  • Hi all,

    For Type I brittle asthma the ratio of women to men is between 2.5:1 and 4:1, depending on which study you read... for Type II brittle asthma it's more equal. For less severe asthma it's much closer to being equal, with, as Andrea says, slight variations in the ratio depending on the age group looked at.

    I think the factor that Cathy identified, that women are much more likely to use sites like this, is probably more relevent! I know my husband thinks the whole idea is fairly crazy... but then he tends to think a lot of the things I do are fairly crazy. (They're not... I'm not crazy... shut up Bex)

    Liked your little rhyme Deek... made me smile!

    Take care ladies and (the few) gentlemen


  • Sex Imbalance in Allergy (part 2)

    Hi guys,

    Here's some more info that I came across which you may find interesting: -

    The fact that women are more susceptible to asthma indicates that female sex hormones play some important role. Data obtained from Harvard’s ongoing Nurses Health Study, which has followed 121,700 female registered nurses since 1976, proved that postmenopausal women who took estrogen as hormone replacement for ten years or more were fifty per cent more probable to experience asthma than were women who have never used estrogen.

    According to the latest study, women suffering from asthma are at greater risk of having a serious attack immediately before or in the course of their menstrual period. The research at the Medical College of Pennsylvania discovered that twice as many women sought emergency asthma treatment in the course of the beginning of their menstruation or the first days of period, in comparison to the middle of their menstrual cycle. The fewest number of women asked for treatment toward the end of their menstruation. Some scientists are convinced that adult-onset attacks are connected with the sharp decrease in levels of estradiol, a kind of estrogen occurring in the days before period.

  • Wow deek, thanks for that. It's ever so interesting and all the stuff about the menstrual cycle fits in really well with my experiences.

    <hands deek an extra special wig for extra clever people>

  • Interesting indeed. I had heard there was some evidence for the anti-inflammatory effects of progesterone also, had you heard that Deek?

  • Thanks for the wig Becky! (as he blushes profusely)

  • Hi all,

    Cathy, I had loads of references on premenstrual asthma, and a couple of them did talk specifically about the anti-inflammatory effects of progesterone, but I can't find them!

    Here are a couple I did find, the first one is particularly interesting as it talks about the multiple reasons why both oestrogen and progesterone might be implicated.

    For me I think the smooth muscle relaxant effects of progesterone are the most significant, as my asthma often seems to manifest itself as very 'twitchy' airways. I know I've gone on about this before, so I won't make it too lengthy, but I have IBS and irritable bladder, and they both used to be worse premenstrually too. I think of my asthma as my 'irritable airways disease' and I'm convinced its part of a common pathology.

    Interestingly, although my sisters don't have asthma or IBS, they both suffer from IBS-type symptoms just before their periods, and all three of us used to suffer from horrendous crampy period pains, so perhaps there is some sort of hereditary increased sensitivity of the smooth muscle to the pre-menstrual drop in progesterone?

    Anyway I'll stop waffling on about me periods again before someone throws something at me <ducks under desk to avoid projectiles>


  • I also have problems Pre- menstrually and as yet have yet to come up with a solution . Im not allowed to use the pill as i have had both PEs and DVTs , does anyone know of any other methods of control?

    EmH - although i dont have IBS i do have a problem with irritable bladder esp before my peroid.

    Will read those links you posted.

  • Progesterone-only pill?

    If the relaxant properties of progesterone are correct...

  • Progesterone Only Pill (POP)

    Please be careful with POP and previous thrombosis. It is often prescribed to people who have had a previous thrombosis as it is considered safer than the combined pill. However, it can still be related to thrombosis. I was taking the POP and it was associated with my retinal vein thrombosis. I have been told to avoid all hormonal therapy. Any ideas for alternatives would be appreciated!



  • Thanks Rachel. We have always been educated to believe that thrombogenic properties were strcitly oestrogen-based, but I bow to your experience :)

  • Hi Cath

    Hope my message didn't come across too strongly, I just don't want what happened to me to happen to anyone else. It's a difficult area as I have been caught between gynaes who won't accept it and haemotologists who told me of the association, which has made treatment decisions very difficult. I guess less people take the POP anyway, so maybe that's why less research/statistics are available.

    Take care,


  • I was told by my haemotologist to stear clear of anything hormaonal too Rachel so we need something else!!

  • Not at all Rachael, sorry if I came across stroppily, I didn't mean it like that! :)

    (EmH is going to give me eloquence lessons, I hope)

    Interesting to hear that even gynaes and haematologists argue about it! Makes me feel better!


  • I have experienced two DVT’s. The first by taking the ‘ordinary’ pill. The second by taking the POP or mini pill.

    I was prescribed the mini pill after my first DVT because the gynae said it was progesterone only and wouldn’t cause the same problem. Could be one of the reasons I ended up with more than 2.4 children. Or is it less these days?

    Rather annoyingly I know the severity of my asthma is affected to a certain degree by the monthly cycle. (Am always worse just before my period)

    Rachael and Hopalong, I don’t know of any other alternative hormonal therapies for relief of asthma symptoms, except for a total hysterectomy. But could be like playing Russian Roulette.

  • When I first found out that my hormones were a major factor in my asthma, it was suggested that if the Pill didn't fully suppress my cycle I could try a GnRH analogue such as Zoladex, which works by shutting down the ovaries and producing a temporary chemical menopause. They would then have given me add-back HRT - still hormones, of course, but at a much lower dose than the pill.

    I'm not convinced it would have worked too well though, because I'm sure I need high levels of progesterone and possibly oestrogen to benefit from that smooth muscle relaxant effect! Also I'd be worried about the effects on my bones, even with HRT, given that I'm on long-term steroids too.

    I'm lucky I've never had any problems with the pill, and I've taken it continuously for the last 7 - 8 years. The RBH docs didn't seem too happy about me being on it for that long, though, so I've got to see a gynaecologist and consider coming off it for a bit, which will have to be done in hospital given the severity of the attacks I used to have premenstrually.

    I never even *had* asthma before age 14 - it suddenly appeared out of the blue 3 months after menarche - and interestingly, my grandma, the only other person in my immediate family with asthma, developed hers age 55 when she went through the menopause.

    Damn hormones.

  • Hey katielou, you may find info on this thread interesting ;-)

  • interseting though i have been wondering this as my last 2 blips and my downhill trend started dec after coming off the pill continuaosly after a few months. am just awaiting to see what happens in another week when finish current pack which should coinside with con appt for once so hopefully if i find a link may well bring it up.

  • interseting though i have been wondering this as my last 2 blips and my downhill trend started dec after coming off the pill continuaosly after a few months. am just awaiting to see what happens in another week when finish current pack which should coinside with con appt for once so hopefully if i find a link may well bring it up.

  • There is another thread somewhere in the deep depths of this forum about periods and asthma and the link, more what treatment available.

    I cant have hormones due to previous PEs and its setting me off monthly now aswell as putting me in itu a few times option was mirena coil, had in 4 weeks now and if anything am worse!! but told can take upto 6 mths to settle!!

    My chest cons told me its true the link between hormones and splats! much to my embaressment in front of him and 4 male docs!!

    oh the joys of womanhood hey? and we only get on day to celebrate a yr!! and men do to and for what!!!

    Andrea xx

  • The link between periods and asthma has been pretty well documented. I know of people who have had a full hysterectomy (inc overies) and it has helped no end. I thankfully got rid of all those bits years ago before the asthma became an issue. The problem can be so bad that some are having to make some really tough choices.


  • Ok....

    Is it safe to take the pill conituously i.e not have a pill free week to prevent these 'blips' happening?


    Me x

  • me a lot of people take the pill continuously but on instruction from gp or someone first. i did for few months b4 had gyne op for fybroids then went back to brreaking between packs as normal

  • It's safe to ""tri-cycle"" the pill - as Katharine says, under the supervision of your GP. Tricycling is taking three packs back-to-back without a break. Talk to your GP or family planning clinic about it - there are no long-term adverse effects from doing this.

  • Sorry I'm digging up all the old threads, but I actually found this one a bit reassuring. I haven't been having asthma treatment for very long, but the times when the inhalers just don't seem to do much, and I want to puff at the blue one long before my next four hourly dose is due, have been premenstrual. It's encouraging because maybe it means I'll feel better in a day or two. And maybe it will all be better post menopause (at 48 that's close enough to look forward to).

  • Felix, thanks 4 digging up this thread. I'd not seen it before, but it does make interesting reading. To answer bluejams question though, I don't think that there is a major difference in the numbers who suffer with conventional asthma, if I can use that to cover all except BA. It just that women are more likely to use forums like this, just as they are to seek medical help before men.

    But when I was at school, the only asthmatics were boys. But a friend said she had asthma as a child but around puberty she grew out of it, and now nearly 30 hasn't had any symptoms since, so hormones certainly play a part,but nothing appears conclusive.

  • In the two-and-a-half years since this thread was started, I've noticed a real increase in the ratio of boys-to-girls participating in the Kick Asthma Holidays. This year at Ardingly only 9 of the 36 participants were female, a ratio of 4:1 - higher than last year, which was higher than the year before. In 2006 we had an exact 1:1 split of girls and boys. Interesting.

  • There are quite a lot of difficult to control/brittle/chronic asthmatics here and if you look at information it leans heavily towards women. You can almost always bet that there will be a traumatic teen period in there, with sexual abuse and bullying being high on the trauma list. You will also find huge numbers are having therepy and or are on anti-depressents. Another interesting thing I have noticed it is likely in mothers especially those of larger families.

    I know many people with asthma that fits the above descriptions but only 3 who are mothers of 2 or more dependant children. Is there something else other than the will to keep going for your children that makes you less likely to fall into the above asthma bracket, is there a subtle change in some hormone or something that no-one has picked up on. I had a hystarectomy at 28 did that mean that a few years further down the line my body failed to do something that might have meant I suddenly went from SCUBA diving and Skiing to sitting in a wheelchair and having discussion with various medical specialist about keeping some quality in my life.

    PLease note this not a finger pointing post it is purely observational and my sample section is not big enough to be of any value but it does interest me.

    My son had dreadful asthma as child and out grew it, my mother, aunt and grandfather were late onset, could it be because I already had asthma all be it very midly that when the late onset gene triggered it pushed me over the edge, who knows. But, it is Fascinating stuff the more you probe the more questions you come up with.



    ps and once again please do not read that this post is in anyway aimed at anyone I promise you it is not as I said its is just my observations speaking to people and listening to their stories

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