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Asthma in menopause

Quizzle profile image

Does anyone have experience of Menopausal Asthma? My profile gives my personal background and explains my interest. Thanks

19 Replies

Hormones can definitely affect asthma and I know of people whose asthma has got worse round the time of the menopause or the time leading up to it. With the right inhalers it then became controlled again.

There are various other things that cause similar symptoms, some of which probably don't apply but anxiety and breathing pattern disorders may well occur with menopausal symptoms such as palpitations and hot flushes because of the nature of those symptoms. Anxiety and breathing pattern disorders can both cause asthma-like symptoms. This post explains more about non-asthma breathing symptoms:

Of course it may not be an alternative cause in your case and may indeed be asthma - fitness levels etc are not relevant in terms of whether asthma can be ruled in or out. The best way to know whether it is is for a GP to prescribe a blue inhaler and to trial using that when symptomatic (alongside monitoring peak flow before and after using the inhaler). If that seems to help then trying a preventer inhaler twice a day for a couple of months (continuing to track peak flow twice a day). The impact on peak flow and symptoms would be used to diagnose asthma or not. There are lung function tests to confirm but they can be normal even in asthma.

Given it's been a long developing thing, if you haven't had any kind of inhalers, it might be an idea to tell a GP what the private consultant said and see if inhalers can be tried. People don't normally need a respiratory consultant straight off - most asthma can be well controlled at GP level.

Sorry, just re-read your profile and you've apparently seen resp consultants. Do inhalers not help at all? If they don't then it's quite possible it's not asthma.

Quizzle profile image
Quizzle in reply to twinkly29

Thanks for your reply. I have never been given an inhaler to try. I will see if this is an option.

twinkly29 profile image
twinkly29 in reply to Quizzle

If the GP will go for a blue (reliever) inhaler as a trial, ask for a peak flow meter as well as it needs proper monitoring really as well as how your symptoms change.

Quizzle profile image
Quizzle in reply to twinkly29

Thanks for advice

My asthma was largely unaffected by menopause. That said, I have become more prone to problems with reflux since I entered the peri menopause stage; that can result in asthma like symptoms and it’s not always easy to tell the two apart.

Quizzle profile image
Quizzle in reply to MaggieHP

Thanks for your reply, having never had asthma I didn't even consider it could be to do with hormones. Given that the only other health problem I have experienced was hormone driven - problems conceiving, it is interesting me to see if this is a link. I am concerned that it might be dismissed as an option an am searching for a respiratory consultant who may look into this. I can't even find a female respiratory consultant in my area!

MaggieHP profile image
MaggieHP in reply to Quizzle

I’m afraid it’s one of the really annoying things about the menopause, just how much the hormone swings at that time of life can upset things and it’s impossible to predict just what might be upset. Some people just seem to have no issues at all, others have symptoms that go on for years, well past the supposed cut off after a year with no menstrual cycles when we are supposedly “post menopausal”. I doubt it will be completely dismissed as an option by a consultant, but you may find yourself having to educate one a bit. I was told by a gastro that I entered the “post menopause” stage really late. I was fifty five at the time. That is not “really late” at all. It’s in the normal range though admittedly at the later end of it. I was quite shocked my consultant didn’t know that. A friend of mine (who happens to be vet) was scathing when I told her about it. “That’s basic,” she said. “Send him back to med school!”

Hi Quizzle,I think this is part of what is going with me and my asthma currently. I am almost 47 and my periods have been haywire for the last decade. There have been 2 x 9 month gaps and a few occurrences of spotting in the last 2 years. Drs say I am too young for it to be the peri menopause. My asthma has been awful since November 2019. I have also been diagnosed with a breathing pattern disorder, silent reflux and inducible laryngeal obstruction (vocal chord disorder.) I have lived with asthma all my life and cannot distinguish between all these disorders. Talking is currently a major trigger, also moving too much. Prior to November 2019, I was fit and strong and my asthma was fairly well controlled- although life was restricted by allergen avoidance.

I think one of the asthma nurses that I have seen concurred with me that I was menopausal and that could be a factor. Even if it is menopause related, I don’t know what can be done about that. I don’t really want HRT, I have never even been on the pill.

Sorry, I tend to go on a bit, not sure what info is relevant or not!

All the best!

irishsweetpea profile image
irishsweetpea in reply to MMBJI

Please don't let anyone tell you that you are too young to be perimenopausal, there are disorders that can cause it to happen younger. POI and young menopause. FSH blood levels 2 weeks apart can diagnose if needed. HRT can be a help but even knowing what might have made you asthma out of control might be of benefit.

twinkly29 profile image
twinkly29 in reply to MMBJI

It must be really hard trying to distinguish between the different conditions. If asthma meds (preventers) aren't improving things generally and reliever medication doesn't help when you're symptomatic, I'd go with the other other issues being mainly the cause. Voice issues being a trigger signals the ILO being a main player. Have you had and speech therapy for the ILO, or physio for the BPD?

I have got menopause’s asthma . I already had it but it got a lot worse during peri menopause . I lit has turned into severe asthma . I thought the other symptoms are bad enough but I was also have asthma attack quite frequently. As long as you have good family and a doctor or specialist it helps alot . I found good info on the asthma uk website and the nurses . There will answer you questions either by phone or on what’s app .

Quizzle profile image
Quizzle in reply to Matida

Thank you, now I know it is a condition I feel able to ask more questions. When the GP dismissed it I felt at a loss

Hi there. My asthma was late onset at about age 32, but it definitely got worse in peri menopause and then further since my menopause. I think ( hope) I have now reached a stable position. I believe it is something to do with oestrogen receptors in the lung tissue. I am not an expert, but it may be worth you researching that online. I wish you better X

Quizzle profile image
Quizzle in reply to Lynxy7

Thanks very much

Hi Quizzle

I can see you've already had lots of replies but thought I'd add my tuppence worth as well 😉

I was diagnosed with adult onset asthma in my early 40s. I started the menopause around 39 years of age (I'm now 46). I am convinced it was the menopause that started it off. Unfortunately my asthma has deteriorated over the years and is now classed as severe asthma. I also have reflux, IBS and ILO (used to be called vocal cord dysfunction).

Like you, I struggled to even hold a conversation, or go upstairs without getting out of puff and dizzy. Walking any distance leaves me SOB and I am unable to even walk the dog at the minute. I had to leave work last year as I simply couldn't manage and ended up in A+E regularly.

I definitely think you need to see someone to try and get definitive diagnosis. Even if it transpires not to be asthma, it still needs investigating and not to be fobbed off as anxiety.

I hope you manage to get the answers you need.

Best of luck,

Michelle x

twinkly29 profile image
twinkly29 in reply to Ghoulette

Agree and also not assumed to be someone's asthma (if they have that and other similar-presenting conditions) as it's just as likely to be one of the others - actually probably more likely as asthma has treatments that provide relief whereas other conditions don't always. Part of that requires the patient to consider all options when symptomatic but part of it requires HCPs to do the same and often there isn't that awareness or support.

I was diagnosed with Asthma at age 47 no previous symptoms right when I started perimenopause periods were fluctuating asthma turned up. I eventually went Private as the GP told me to stop inhalers when my cold had cleared as I had a wheeze and breathing problems so I stopped the inhalers and ended up in A&E with a full blown asthma attack. My asthma is late onset non allergic eosinphillic. Doing some history looking back at my bloods we saw that when I was pregnant 15 years ago my platelets were high and again now with asthma my platelets are high common with my type of asthma and I did have a chest infection when I was pregnant at the end so may have had some asthma then. I'm now on 2 inhalers and montelukast 4 years later trying to manage this. It's hard as I was fit before but now I do get tired quicker.

I started with asthma in the menopause. I went from mild to severe. It wasn’t the drs who told me about the link between asthma and the menopause, it was the specialist nurse that I saw.

yes, definitely menopause asthma here. very mils to non existent pre menopause now moderate asthma. I can't have HRT but I'd be interested to know if it helped anybody's asthma.

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