While allergies can affect anyone, there is some evidence to suggest that women may be more prone to allergies than men.
One study found that while prepubescent males have higher rates of rhinitis, asthma, and food allergy than females, women outnumber men in these categories once in adulthood.
Another study published in the Journal of Allergy and Clinical Immunology found that women were more likely than men to self-report having hay fever, food allergies, and skin allergies.
Why are women more prone to allergies?
The reason for this gender gap is not entirely clear, but there is one theory that may help explain the disparity: hormones may play a role in the development of allergies. Women experience hormonal fluctuations throughout their menstrual cycles and during pregnancy, which can affect the immune system. Estrogen, in particular, has been shown to have a pro-inflammatory effect on the body, which may contribute to allergic reactions. This may explain why women are more likely to exhibit allergies during certain times of the month or during pregnancy.
Regardless of gender, anyone suffering from allergies or allergic asthma should talk to their healthcare provider about treatment options, including over-the-counter medications and allergen immunotherapy like Nectar, as well as lifestyle changes that can help manage their symptoms.
(1) Pali-Schöll I, Jensen-Jarolim E. Gender aspects in food allergy. Curr Opin Allergy Clin Immunol. 2019 Jun;19(3):249-255. doi: 10.1097/ACI.0000000000000529. PMID: 30893085.
(2) Hapke, E. J., et al. (2006). Sex differences in the prevalence of self-reported allergic rhinitis and food hypersensitivity. Journal of Allergy and Clinical Immunology, 118(3), 587-593.
(3) Jensen-Jarolim, Erika. “Gender effects in allergology - Secondary publications and update.” The World Allergy Organization journal vol. 10,1 47. 28 Dec. 2017, doi:10.1186/s40413-017-0178-8
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