While allergies do depend in great part on genetics and environment, women are much more likely to experience allergic reactions or even develop new allergies during the menopausal transition. This is because estrogen - in addition to its other functions all over the body - also plays a role in regulating the immune system. Since estrogen levels decrease during menopause, allergies are more likely to surface.
Fortunately, there are many treatments available for treating both the symptoms and the underlying hormonal imbalance. Continue reading to learn more about the various approaches to managing allergic reactions.
Three Approaches to Treating Allergies
When treating allergic reactions, three different approaches can be considered. These are divided into: (1) Lifestyle Changes, (2) Alternative Medicine, and (3) Medications.
Those wishing to treat allergies are recommended to start with the least risky and least invasive stage, lifestyle changes, before advancing to other approaches. Medications should only be used to treat especially severe or persistent allergies.
1. Lifestyle Changes
The first approach entails no risk, but it demands the most self-control. Nonetheless, when managing allergic reactions, minor adjustments in lifestyle can produce significant results and also improve overall health.
A balanced diet full of fruits and vegetables is essential. More specifically, certain foods can be added to or increased in diet to help relieve allergies. For example, garlic, onions, and citrus fruits boost the immune system, helping it to fight against perceived allergens. In addition, omega-3 fatty acids - found in green vegetables, whole grains, and coldwater fish - can help reduce the inflammation caused by many allergic reactions.
- Citrus fruits
- Coldwater fish
Along with a healthy diet, regular exercise contributes to keeping the immune system healthy. Especially useful exercises for allergies are Pilates and yoga, since they teach breathing techniques and relaxation, which can help with asthma and other respiratory difficulties that are often a part of allergic reactions. Furthermore, regular physical activity benefits overall health.
Lastly, it is important to avoid habits that could trigger or worsen allergies. Smoking tobacco can irritate membranes that are already uncomfortable from allergic reactions, and some women may even develop an allergy to cigarette smoke during the menopause transition. In addition, excessive alcohol consumption can lower immune system response and worsen hormonal imbalances. Therefore, it is best to eliminate use of these substances.
Lifestyle changes may be a holistic way to treat allergies, but they can also be difficult to implement and subsequently keep up with. In addition, not all changes address hormonal imbalance, the underlying cause of many menopausal allergies. Fortunately, alternative medicines are a safe and effective way to treat hormonal imbalances and, in turn, allergies. Continue reading to find out more about natural treatments.
2. Alternative Medicine
Herbs for Seasonal Allergies
- Stinging nettle
This approach consists of many possible treatment methods. For example, neti pots may unblock sinuses or a stuffy nose. However, herbal supplements are the ideal method, since they are cheaper, require less time commitment, and some can treat hormonal imbalances directly.
In terms of herbal supplements, there are two types in particular that work to balance hormone levels: phytoestrogenic and hormone-regulating herbal supplements.
These supplements, such as gingko, contain phytoestrogens, or plant-based compounds that mimic estrogen. They can contribute to balancing estrogen levels, but they do not impact the levels other hormones that are affected during menopause. In addition, their extended use is not recommended, since it can make the body less able to produce natural hormones, resulting in a decline of estrogen in the long run.
These supplements, like Macafem, nourish the hormonal glands instead of introducing plant-based hormones into the body. This promotes the natural production of not only estrogen, but also other essential hormones like progesterone, resulting in an overall balance. In addition, since these supplements stimulate the hormonal glands, they can be used as long as necessary, and they carry little to no side effects.
A combination of approaches is frequently the most effective route, especially a blend of herbal supplements and lifestyle modifications. While this combination may help relieve allergies, when it does not eliminate severe allergies completely, a woman may wish to turn to medical intervention after weighing the associated risks and benefits.
For treating allergies that stem from hormonal changes, hormone replacement therapy (HRT) has been the most popularly-prescribed medication, especially when a woman is experiencing other symptoms of menopause as well. While this is a swift and powerful means of treating menopausal allergies, it can also increase the risk of stroke, breast cancer, and other dangerous side effects, as revealed in the following study.
In 1991, The National Institutes of Health commenced the largest study even performed in the U.S., a clinical trial called the Women's Health Initiative. It aim was to determine the pros and cons of HRT, but after 11 years, it was halted when its connection to increased risks of stroke, heart diseases, breast cancer, and ovarian cancer was established.
Some general medications can be used for allergies regardless of their root cause:
• Antihistamines. The symptoms of respiratory and dermal allergies can often be managed with antihistamines. These over-the-counter medications stop symptoms like a runny nose and puffy eyes. Their downside is their side effects, such as drowsiness and dry mouth.
• Other medications. Some other medications may treat strictly the symptoms of allergic reactions, but they are laden with unpleasant side effects that equally disrupt daily activity, like drowsiness and dry mouth. Immunotherapy can desensitize allergies in the long run, but it takes a long time and is very costly. It is recommended that women at risk of life-threatening allergic reactions carry emergency epinephrine in case of shock.
It is best that those with everyday allergies speak to a doctor for advice before starting treatment.
The three approaches above - adjustments in lifestyle, alternative medicines, and medications - can be used separately or combined as necessary to manage the symptoms. An increasing number of women have been discovering that a mixture lifestyle changes and herbal supplements provide the most relief for their allergies.
A Safe Way of Treating Allergies
Making lifestyle changes:
- Regular physical activity
- A balanced diet with special allergy-reducing foods, like garlic
- Eating enough fruits and vegetables
- Ventilating living spaces
- Smoking and alcohol
- Too much caffeine
- Allergens, when possible
And taking herbal supplements to balance hormones:
- Supports and stimulates natural hormone production
- Safe and effective, as it presents virtually no side effects
Click on the following link to learn more about Macafem.
- Bonds, R.S. & Midoro-Horiuti, T. (2013). Estrogen effects in allergy and asthma. Current Opinion in Allergy and Clinical Immunology, 13(1), 92-99. Retrieved from http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC3537328/
- National Institutes of Health. (2014). Allergies. Retrieved April 20, 2016, from https://www.nlm.nih.gov/medlineplus/ency/article/000812.htm