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Worsening asthma during peri menopause/menopause?

Jashlee profile image

Has anyone’s asthma gotten worse during their peri menopause. I have had asthma since my mid 30’s and had very little problem managing it up until recently. I don’t have any coughing or wheezing, just a tightness under my chest and then shortness of breath. It gets a little better when I stand up. I went to the emergency room a week ago and the doctors did blood work, ekg and chest ex-ray, all came back normal. I am currently on a steroid and have a rescue inhaler but it gives me little relief when I take it. Could anxiety be triggering my asthma? It mostly happens in the evening around 7-8pm after a days work. Any feedback would help.

13 Replies

That sounds almost exactly like me. Mine started in March with a virus though - low grade fever for 3 weeks & that same sensation of not being able to get enough air inside in the evenings. I did have a wheeze at the time but that subsided. I’m left with a horrible itch on the right upper lung, some chest tightness. No cough to speak of.

I’m 51, female, with no chest issues since childhood asthma which went away at 20.

I’ve been playing meds roulette since March and am now on Fostair which keeps the worst at bay. I’m still thinking that silent reflux may be a factor although I’ve not been diagnosed. I have half the symptoms. Of course I can’t get a referral.

Are you better mornings and while lying down? Gets worse as the day progresses, culminating in uncomfortable evenings trying to get a full breath?

Come think of it.....I had a low grade fever in January with extreme exhaustion and lower back ache. I also lost my sense of smell for about 1-2 weeks (could this have been covid)? It was shortly after this that the symptoms started happening. I would be sleeping and be woken up having to gasp for air, it didn’t happen all the time but definitely my breathing has changed.

I’m a 55 year old female and had very mild asthma up to this point, only took my inhaler once every six months to year. I find now I having to take it weekly.

You are correct, I am good in the morning. My breathing problems usually starts after dinner around 7 -8 pm and like you I find it difficult in the evening getting a full breath. I wonder if maybe we had mild cases of covid and didn’t know it. This may possible be what they call the “long haul” symptoms.

I was also thinking it could be acid reflux. I went to the emergency room a few weeks ago because of it and they did blood work, EKG and a chest ex-ray and everything came back normal.

I will be going to the doctor tomorrow to see if this can be figured out. Let me know if you find out what is causing your shortness of breath.

Hope you feel better soon.

That’s interesting that you had a investigation for acid reflux and it found nothing. I’ve had a chest X-ray and one chest exam by the resp nurse but that’s all. Everything else has been done by phone or text. No gastric exam or tests whatever.

I was put on Omeprazole for a few weeks at the same time as my Qvar 50 inhaler dose was raised from 2 puffs twice a day to 3. Something helped a bit but I couldn’t tell which. So we increased the Omeprazole dose and then I started getting horrid side effects so I had to come off it.

The blue inhaler helps the itch so they moved me to Fostair 100/6 2bd. I haven’t needed the blue since - that’s over 6 weeks now.

I’ve also been following the silent reflux diet recommendations of cutting down on tomato, onion, mint (who would have thought that? Practically all preparations for reflux are mint flavoured!) and dairy. And eating earlier in the evenings.

I dare say I’ll be invited for a medication review at some stage in the next year 🙄 but unless things get worse again I won’t bother the GP. They have enough to worry about with the pandemic. And if it is exacerbated by menopause then it is time limiting. 🤞🏻

Yes we could both have had Covid but I doubt we’ll ever know. My fatigue has improved just this past week. It isn’t gone, and my evening breathing is still more difficult, but life is SO much less effort than it has been the past 7 months.

How are you feeling?

I’ve been a bit better after taking a 14 day treatment of Nexium. I did go visit my GP and she suspects it could be H-pylori so I’m getting tested for that currently. I think that this breathing issue is related to the menopause, just hope that once my menopausal symptoms start to lessen it will resolve itself.

Glad to hear that things have improved recently for you. Hopeful we’ll get this all figured out.🤞

Thank you! I'm a little more weary today but nothing like before. Fingers crossed that it continues.

I had an H-Pylori test too - negative. I forgot about that.

Interestingly, we had a big roast dinner at lunchtime today, so we haven't been ready for anything for evening meal, only drinks. I was absolutely fine after that big meal, but I still ran out of breathing space inside at about 6:30pm and needed my inhaler. Now that's interesting, isn't it?

Incredibly I am the same....58 menopausal, childhood asthma cleared at 20, last March had a chest infection type episode and full blown asthma attack, itchy left lung! Currently taking Fostair and Ventolin when required, not daily. I also now have bad acid reflux, indigestion etc Also blocked sinuses etc Terrible constant fatigue. I believe it’s hormonal and praying it will all subside. I’m just a shadow of my normal self. hope you feel better soon.

Isn’t this all weird? I hope you find answers too. X

I think the peri menopause has triggered my asthma 100%. My issues started feb time and it was only 5 months previous I was finally taken seriously and allowed to try HRT. I’ve been having peri menopause symptojms since age 37 - but it took till 41 to be taken seriously by a locum doctor. 3 weeks after starting HRT the symptoms had halved and now I barely have any.

Except the asthma. Which is ‘moderate’. I’ve no idea if there’s a link to HRT or it’s the perimenpause hormones. X

Jollygood profile image
Jollygood in reply to Emzcat41

Same here emzcat!!! No asthma at all until I hit 44 & then I went from 0 to 60. It must be the menopause hormones. Sorry for the too much information but I haven't had a normal time of the month since the asthma kicked off either so there must be a connection 🤔. Your comment about hrt is interesting.

I know this a couple of weeks old but I am in the same situation. I am 50 and this year my hormones are really bad, doctor told me I am definately in perimenopause. so is my breathlessness, no wheezing, cough or phlegm, just a feeling like I can not get enough air in. My GP suggested in was hyperventilation syndrome from stress, I too had a normal chest x ray and get no real relief from my blue inhaler. My asthma was well managed before this year.

I have read many articles that show how many woman in perimenopause and menopause suffer with breathing problems associated with breathing in rather than out. And we all know how unsettling not being able to breath is. And most doctors are dismissive. Hormones are also responsible for our mucus membranes functioning well, our mouths,eyes and lungs all become dryer in menopause another cause for lung issues. But make sure you get yourself checked by a GP and tell them you are perimenopausal. All the best ladies.

Thank you for sharing, all. I don’t think menopause has been mentioned as a cause of mine. They just keep calling it post-viral.

The bottom line is that they don’t know and can’t test, so it’s a long game of meds roulette until they find something that works. When they do, whatever they’re treating for becomes the diagnosis.

So for me the steroid inhaler & blue helped the most so it’s labelled asthma. For you the HRT helped so yours is labelled peri-menopause. And for others who find that Gaviscon helps the most are told they have silent reflux. The truth is most likely somewhere in between for us all.

Jashlee profile image
Jashlee in reply to Alauralane

Your symptoms are identical to what I have been experiencing. I went to my GP the other day and she is checking for possible h-pylori ( results not in yet). She checked my lungs and found no wheezing or coughing, no phlegm. She also thought it could be heart problems but I don’t have breathlessness going up flights of stairs. I had a stress test not long ago and it was good. I did take a course of Nexium last week and it did seem to help some, but I do think it is hormonal related.

Although I wouldn’t want anyone else to struggle, it’s really comforting to find other people with the same weird symptoms that don’t tick the official boxes!

Let us know what your results are? 🥰

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