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Oral contraceptive study may encourage asthma testing

Category: Allergy Testing

Asthma and airway inflammation often become more acute as hormone levels change in women, but "the pill" may alleviate the symptoms, new research suggests.

The study, which was published in the November issue of the journal Chest, found that increased levels of estrogen were associated with decreased airway inflammation in women who were not taking oral contraceptives. In the same group, increased levels of progesterone were associated with increased airway swelling, HealthDay News reports.

Inflammation was measured by testing levels of exhaled nitric oxide, and hormone levels were found to have fluctuated throughout the month.
However, according to the researchers, women who were taking birth control pills demonstrated less dramatic hormone fluctuations and less severe asthma symptoms throughout the month.

The investigators studied 17 women, eight of whom were on birth control pills containing estrogen and progesterone.

"This study is a first step in looking at the relationship between hormones and asthma," the study's lead author, Dr Piush Mandhane told the news source.

Another researcher, Dr Jennifer Appleyard clarified that because oral contraceptives can have serious side effects, women are not advised to take them just to curb asthma symptoms.

The American Academy of Asthma, Allergy & Immunology reports that about 300 million people worldwide suffer from the condition, and 250,000 die from it each year.

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