Have you ever noticed a little bit of a scratchy throat when your period rolls around? How about a nagging cough throughout your menstrual cycle? It may sound a little odd, but these symptoms are actually quite common and occur in a lot of women.

Estrogen levels change during the course of a woman's menstrual cycle causing an inflammatory response in the body that can manifest as asthma symptoms under certain conditions. According to some experts, it is not the fact that estrogen levels are too low or too high that ultimately cause the inflammation in a woman's airways, but apparently the changing conditions of having high levels of estrogen and then low levels of estrogen.

Some specialists believe that a remarkably low level of estrogen is what brings on respiratory problems in women, not the fluctuation of the hormone. Extremely low levels of Progesterone have also been blamed as the cause of asthmatic symptoms in some women. One study showed a strong correlation between low progesterone levels and asthma symptoms. Whatever the hormonal backdrop, the fact is that the time right before a woman's period starts is when she is most at risk of suffering a major asthmatic attack. Other women who do not suffer from full-blown asthma may notice just a bit of a cough or a sore throat right before their periods; this is yet another manifestation of swelling resulting from hormonal changes associated with the menstrual cycle.

Though some women have been lucky enough to discover bioidentical hormone replacement as an option to help them get severe asthmatic symptoms under control, others have not been as fortunate. Their prescribed inhalers can actually make their symptoms much worse. The inhalers that are normally prescribed for asthma are synthetic corticosteroids; synthetic corticosteroids occupy progesterone receptors in cells. That means that when progesterone is already low, it may be harder for it to reach the cells, ultimately causing the situation to get worse rather than better.

Corticosteroids are one of several steroid hormones that are produced and secreted by the adrenal glands. Though they have anti-inflammatory properties and their use may be warranted in some instances for the treatment of asthma, women would probably benefit from a more thorough assessment of their hormonal milieu before using a corticosteroid inhaler.

Unfortunately most general practitioners do not know a lot about hormones, especially bioidentical hormones (hormones that are structurally and functionally identical to those produced by the human body). Because of this they fail to educate their patients about them or consider their use for disorders like asthma. Many doctors are not even aware that bioidentical hormones are available to their patients, choosing instead to prescribe synthetic hormones. These synthetic hormones are often associated with serious side effects because they are biochemically different from the hormone naturally produced by the human body. If you or someone you know is a woman experiencing asthma symptoms that seem to be cyclical, take responsibility for your own health and visit a doctor specializing in hormone therapy.

Author's Bio: 

Jennifer is a content editor for the PhysioAge Medical Group, a group of bioidentical doctors who are experienced in helping both men and women slow the aging process.