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HEALTHCARE

ABC’s of Menopause: Allergies

Everything You Need to Know & How To Take Back Control.

Mia West
September 15, 2023
Medically-reviewed and fact checked by Ryan Lester, PA-C

Menopause is the “gift” that keeps on giving. With 34 associated symptoms that can easily be ascribed to a myriad of other health conditions, it can be impossible to know if what you’re experiencing is tied to menopause without a hormone test. Each week this series will break down symptoms to empower women to take back control of their health and enjoy some relief.


It’s remarkably easy to overlook lesser-known signs of menopause since so many are commonplace. Take for example, allergies. The 6th leading cause of chronic illness in the U.S., more than 50 million Americans suffer from allergies each year.  How can a woman know if it’s the change in season, a new pet or hormonal shifts? 

What Causes Menopausal Allergies?

The exact cause of menopause-related allergies is not fully understood. As with most things menopause-related, there is minimal data and research linking the two, but the correlation can’t be denied. Experts are seeing more and more women developing hay fever, eczema, asthma and crippling food intolerances as their hormones fluctuate with age, with many developing new allergies for the first time. 

Despite the lack of data, researchers know that estrogen and progesterone play a role in regulating the immune system, and when levels of these hormones decline during menopause, it can make the immune system more sensitive to allergens, leading to unexpected reactions. Another possible explanation for menopause-related allergies is that the decline in estrogen can lead to inflammation in the airways. This inflammation can make the airways more reactive to allergens, such as pollen, dust mites, and pet dander.

How Do I Know My Allergies Are Menopause Related?

Recently try to treat yourself to a decadent scoop of ice cream or cheese and your body revolted? If you start experiencing surprising new allergies like lactose intolerance or your existing allergy symptoms worsen during perimenopause or menopause, it is possible that your allergies are related to your changing hormones. 

Here are some signs and symptoms indicating allergies are menopause induced:

  • Your allergies have suddenly worsened, even if you have been experiencing them for many years.
  • You have developed new allergies for the first time, particularly after age 40.
  • Your allergies seem to be triggered by things that you never used to be allergic to, such as certain foods, perfumes, or cosmetics.
  • Your allergies are more severe than they used to be, and they are not responding as well to your usual medications.
  • Your allergies are worse during certain times of the month, such as during your menstrual cycle or around the time of your ovulation.
  • Your allergies are worse when you are stressed or tired.

What Else Causes Adult Allergies?

While menopause can trigger a number of health concerns, it may not be responsible for your allergies, even if they’ve recently emerged. Adult-onset allergies are on the rise due to things like climate change and increased exposure to allergens. Other allergy triggers to consider are:

  • Exposure to new allergens, such as moving to a new area or getting a new pet.
  • Changes in the environment, such as an increase in pollen levels or air pollution.
  • Certain medical conditions, such as asthma or eczema.
  • Certain medications, such as antibiotics and blood pressure medications.
  • Exposure to allergens, such as pollen, dust mites, pet dander, and mold.
  • Family history of allergies.

What Are My Treatment Options?

Treatment for menopause-related allergies is similar to treatment for other types of allergies. It may include:

  • Over-the-counter medications, such as antihistamines and decongestants.
  • Prescription medications, such as allergy shots and nasal corticosteroids.
  • Avoidance of allergens, whenever possible. Air purifiers, surgical masks, washing bedding frequently and bathing immediately after being outside can mitigate issues.
  • Allergy shots (immunotherapy) can reduce the body's sensitivity to allergens over time.
  • A study recently found use of HRT was associated with a reduced risk of development of late onset asthma in menopausal women. 

When Should I See A Doctor?

Allergies can easily interfere with your daily life, adding to the fatigue and brain fog that can also come with menopause. As with any health concern, it’s critical you speak with a healthcare provider to rule out any other underlying medical conditions, especially if allergy symptoms are severe or do not respond to over-the-counter medications. Signs for immediate concern are difficulty breathing, chest tightness, or swelling of the throat or tongue, and encourage you to seek medical assistance right away.

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About the Author

Mia West

A former journalist, Mia brings a high energy approach to communications rooted in insights, culture and brand DNA. She is driven by helping brands crystalize their story and foster meaningful, emotional connections with audiences. Over the years she has collaborated with prominent brands such as Petco, Keurig Dr Pepper, Jaguar Land Rover, Revlon, and Procter & Gamble Beauty, as well as many others in the retail, health & wellness, beauty, lifestyle, and sustainability realms. A California native, she lives in San Diego with her family at the beach.

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